Gold medallist Adams retires after giving it all she could

New Zealander Lisa Adams stands on the dais after winning the gold medal in the women’s shot put...
New Zealander Lisa Adams stands on the dais after winning the gold medal in the women’s shot put F37 at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
World and Paralympic shot put champion Lisa Adams has quit the sport just four months out from the Paris Paralympics.

Adams, 33, said her retirement was effective immediately and she wanted to spend more time with 11-year-old son Hikairo.

She leaves the sport after a six-year career that included two para world titles, gold at the Tokyo Paralympics, and a world record in the F37 shot put.

"It has not been an easy decision to retire from athletics," Adams said.

"The sport has given me so much and many happy memories, but I just felt the passion and energy to keep training every day was no longer there.

"Some might wonder at the timing of my decision so close to the para athletics world championships and with the Paralympic Games on the horizon, but I felt I had given it all I could."

Diagnosed with left hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, at an early age, Adams was a late starter to athletics.

Identified as an athlete of potential by Athletics NZ para lead Raylene Bates, who had read an article about Adams playing rugby, she was encouraged to try the shot put and discus.

She made her competitive debut aged 27 at the 2018 Victorian championships in Melbourne, and later that season she completed the para shot and discus double at the New Zealand championships.

Less than 18 months after taking up the sport, she produced a stunning display at the 2019 para athletics world championships in Dubai, dominating the final of the women’s F37 shot and setting a world record of 14.80m.

She bettered that mark with a huge toss of 15.28m in Christchurch before posting the existing world record of 15.50m in Hastings.

The Rotorua-based athlete maintained her dominance at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, setting four Games records with a best of 15.12m to claim gold by a commanding victory margin of almost 1.5m.

In 2022, Adams — younger sister of the great Valerie Adams — retained her world para crown in Paris.

"I leave the sport with no regrets," she said.

"I am immensely proud with what I achieved in my six years in athletics with the highlight winning gold in Tokyo, knowing I shared the same circle as big sister, who won her fourth shot put Olympic medal just a few weeks earlier.

"I’d like to say a huge thank you to my big sister, Valerie, for guiding me throughout my athletics career.

"I will be forever grateful for her loyal and faithful support."

Valerie Adams said she had learnt a lot while coaching her sister.

"It’s been an incredible experience with incredible memories made together," Valerie said.

"Her transformation from a young mother to an inspiring and resilient athlete and woman is a testament to her perseverance and commitment.

"I am so proud of all that Lisa has accomplished during her time participating in this amazing sport of athletics."