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Amid the jungle yells, flying mini-cannonballs and captive audience at Auckland's Cloud this afternoon, Val Adams set the best women's shot put throw in the world this year.
Using her familiar glide technique, the 28-year-old revelled in the atmosphere created by a crowd in excess of 400, including Team Adams, her family posse and coach Jean-Pierre Egger. She threw 20.75m with her final throw to set a new Oceania indoor record.
She threw nothing less than a 19.58m over the afternoon, although one effort was a no-throw.
To put her performance in context, Adams' best indoor throw is 20.81m, set last year, and she threw 20.70m outdoors to claim her second gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Towards the end of her recently-released book, Adams stated she always wanted to throw at a venue like The Cloud. She got her wish and the crowd reciprocated with generous vocal support.
Adams, or "Val" as most people acknowledge her, is fast-moving into first-name recognition territory like another Jonah in New Zealand sport.
The only patron not appearing to enjoy himself was the bloke assigned to catching or stopping the shot as it smashed into some flimsy-looking plywood and netting at the end of the marked arena. Someone could at least provide him with wicket-keeping gloves for future such endeavours. His shirt was drenched with the pressure.
The two hot dog stands at the front of the venue faced stiffer competition but Adams' support cast included seven other throwers. They were Trinidad and Tobago mate and rival Cleopatra Borel-Brown, local up-and-comers Te Rina Keenan, Siositina Hakeai and Merewarihi Vaka. Matt Bloxham, Alex Rose and Scott McLaren represented the male contingent. McLaren worked with Adams in Switzerland before the Olympics.
- By Andrew Alderson of the Herald on Sunday