Val's dedicated as ever
Valerie Adams' desire to win Counties Manukau Sport's Sportswoman of the Year and Supreme Sporting Excellence awards is as undiminished as the year she won her region's first junior title.
She said as much when crowned Counties Manukau's best athlete for 2013 at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau last Friday night.
It was for her gold medal-winning performance at the World Athletics Championship in Moscow and her unbeaten run on the International Amateur Athletics Federation's Golden League circuit this year.
It's the seventh year in a row that Adams has scored the double and she isn't ready to quit yet.
"I don't think my career is towards the end or anything like that. I'm still living the dream," she said.
"I have a massive passion for it. It is a lot of hard work but if you love something that badly you will do whatever you can to try and get to the top.
"My aim now is to get through to Rio de Janeiro for my fourth Olympic Games.
"This will be a pretty challenging year, especially with injuries but as every sports person knows it is part and parcel of being an athlete," she says.
The Counties Manukau Sport awards has a place in her heart.
"This is the most awesome and relaxed prizegiving that I ever go to. I always try to come back for these. I have been here for the past 13 years. I think I've only missed one.
"This is grassroots. This is where it all happens.
"This is where we celebrate sports as South Aucklanders and people from Counties Manukau."
Adams takes pride in where she's from.
"I tell people that I'm from Counties Manukau, south side."
Guest speaker Dame Susan Devoy, the winner of four world squash titles and eight-time British Open winner, says Adams is the epitome of what being the best is all about.
"I'm so grateful to you, Val that you're here in your own community to allow people to celebrate and recognise your wonderful achievements."
Dame Susan says she's familiar with the sacrifices Adams makes in her quest for success.
"Passion is about being prepared to make just about every single sacrifice you can to achieve what you want to."
Among the Olympians at the awards night were Sir John Walker, Winifred Ashby, Vicky Latta and Bryce Beeston.
Tana Umaga joined the pantheon of Counties Manukau Sport awards winners when he was named coach of the year.
His team, the Steelers, were named team of the year for their Ranfurly Shield and ITM Cup success.
The Counties Manukau Stingrays, winners of rugby league's national under-17 championship won junior team of the year.
The junior sportsman of the year is age group hockey and cricket international Cameron Gibbons (Southern Districts Hockey Club / Weymouth Cricket Club).
Trampolinist Alexa Kennedy of the Icon Trampoline Club is junior sportswoman of the year for her gold medal performances at Indo Pacific champs and the Australian Youth Olympics.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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