Commonwealth favourite won't be losing any sleep
thinking about her rivals, writes Andrew Alderson of the Herald
Val Adams wants to make it clear: her left non-throwing
shoulder is healthy enough to win Commonwealth Games gold.
What that says about the strength of the field is debatable.
Adams' best outdoor throw this year is 20.46m at Wellington
in March, 78cm short of her 2011 personal best. She threw
20.42m 10 days ago in Lausanne and won the world indoor
championships with 20.67m in March.
The best her Commonwealth rivals have posted is 19.10m by
Trinidad and Tobago's Cleopatra Borel. After that? Canadian
Julie Labonte has thrown 17.45m.
The last time Adams failed to throw further than that in a
calendar year she hadn't blown out 17 candles.
With a pedigree that includes two Olympic golds, four world
championships and two Commonwealth titles in the interim, a
Glasgow triumph is expected.
However, Adams' role in a multi-sport event which is
increasingly becoming an Olympic trial run for New Zealand
athletes, is as much about disseminating wisdom as delivering
The 29-year-old's in her fourth Commonwealth Games so is
preparing to take on a Camp Mother-type role, but possibly
without Lynda Topp's pink velour suit, headband and handbag.
"I welcome the opportunity to be part of a team because I
generally compete on my own [as a New Zealander] at every
competition. I'm pushing 30 so I want to have a good time and
if any of these young pups want to come up and get some tips,
feel free. If my experience can help others at an event which
is a stepping stone to the Olympics and world championships,
that's great. I'm away from home so much these days it'll be
great to talk some 'Kiwi' hanging out with my peeps."
Adams' dominance astounds in the wake of her injury. She has
eight of the top 11 throws this year. German Christina
Schwanitz, with a best of 20.22m, is the only athlete who
looks capable of threatening Adams' run of 51 consecutive
victories. Adams can extend her record in Lucerne on Tuesday
and at the Monaco Diamond League event on Friday before
"I'm definitely happy compared to where I was six to seven
weeks ago. I'm waking up in less pain. I'm undecided on
whether I'll have surgery [on the shoulder] at the end of the
season. I'll get through Glasgow first."
"Rome, Marrakesh and New York were tough [events] because the
other girls had the opportunity to take the win. I kept
fighting and thankfully I won. In New York I was in second
place heading into the fourth round [of six]. I had to push
through mentally, even though I wasn't 100 per cent
Coach Jean-Pierre Egger, who celebrates his 71st birthday
when Adams competes in Glasgow on July 30, has been coaxing
"He is gentle and wise. The injuries have made it frustrating
for us. I would apologise to him because he says 'when you're
hurt, I'm hurt; when you're happy, I'm happy'. That means a
lot because he's there for the right reasons and always makes
sure the day ends positively. We've had some pretty rough
days. He's still the most amazing man on Earth as a coach and
a father figure to me."
Before the Lausanne victory, Adams offered some candid
thoughts in fluent French about impact of the New York
"There was a big build-up - being my 50th win - and the
stadium announcer wouldn't shut up about it, which made it
difficult mentally. One day it [the sequence] will come to an
end but for now I will push and fight like a crazy Tongan
woman until the end."
The build-up to Lausanne was arguably as exciting as the
event for Adams.
She hosted a kids athletics clinic with LaShawn Merritt two
days beforehand which involved a 20-minute helicopter ride to
Colombier, a town on the shores of Lake Neuchatel.
"I got to fly the chopper for 10 minutes before my forearm
started cramping and the pilot took over. You have to be very
delicate with those things, it's not like holding a bar for
clean and jerks, squats or snatches."