Val's eye-opener was something

Last updated 12:00 08/11/2012
Valerie Adams
Valerie Adams' autobiography.

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OPINION: When Valerie, The Autobiography, arrived at our sports desk last week, it gave us little more than a day to read 208 pages before our allocated interview.

That was barely enough before confronting Valerie Adams the shot putter, who has always got prickly when she doesn't appreciate certain questions.

Needless to say sports reporter George Heagney did not really enjoy the experience. Most book subjects are only too happy to help market their biographies but perhaps the uninterested Ms Adams had had too many interviews around the nation before touching down in Palmerston North.

She frequently said "it's in the book", which was hardly helpful given the blimming thing had barely arrived.

Apparently tough, others testify that she has the ability to charm.

But she has come a long way from the Athens Olympics when she bombed out and in reply to a TV reporter's question about what went wrong, she said: "My business, not yours."

We panned her heavily for that, on the basis that she was flitting about the world on the taxpayers' teat and it was very much our business.

She admits in the book she had learned from the experience but then goes on to blame the question, which was innocuous. Sportspeople at her level have to appreciate they might be expected to give immediate reaction to the millions at home who are funding their careers.

Journalist Phil Gifford has done well to pen the book because the competitive side of shotput hardly lends itself to high drama. Athletics folk, please don't take exception, but heaving the shot is the least exciting of all the athletic disciplines.

Gifford was exceptionally thankful that the snafu (situation normal all fouled up) happened at the London Olympics when she was left off the start list.

It has also probably scuttled New Zealand team chef de mission Dave Currie's chance of a knighthood, and Adams hasn't held back in criticising him for naming athletics official Raylene Bates.

And hopefully it has rid the New Zealand Games team of those never-ending haka which wake half of the athletes' village at ungodly hours.

But the biggest eye-opener, so to speak, was Adams' description of the physical act of providing drug samples.

Basically she has to sit on the lav while a chaperone watches the micturition. A job is a job I suppose. And Adams has been performing this humiliation since she was 14.

But unlike most New Zealanders who win sitting down, Adams does it standing up - winning gold, that is.

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And it has been tough, through family trauma, a failed marriage with a husband who wouldn't clear off and her troubled passage through two coaches before finding the Swiss guru Jean-Pierre Egger.

■ At the weekend we encountered a golfer who declared he was a member of the Apiti Golf Club.

He was from Auckland and mentioned that the Apiti subscriptions had risen to $90 in the past year.

Apiti is one of the small clubs whose fees are so small that they attract golfers from the big cities. They pay up and can then play at courses for reduced green fees because they are affiliated golfers.

It is similar to shipping whereby ships are registered in grotty old Liberia, a flag of convenience.

Apiti is so popular it is shown as having 657 members.

Anyway, the Auckland golfer admitted he didn't have a clue where Apiti was.

■ Sri Lanka has distinct dry and wet seasons and yet it seems the Black Caps' cricket tour has been plonked in during the wet.

So it is hardly surprising the entire tour has been drenched. The dry seasons are from December to March in the south and May to September in the south.

Something called the Maha monsoon blows from October to January, like now, and we are told there is an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain is common. They would have had more chance of playing in Palmerston North over this period.

- Manawatu Standard

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