OPINION: During the weekend, Valerie Adams bettered the shot put qualifying standard for next year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games using a standard throw.
It must be very disconcerting to other competitors to hear this news, especially as she appears to be able to achieve this mark without having to adopt her normal technique. It is another illustration of just how good she is.
Shot putting may not come across well as television viewing because it often fails to illustrate the height, speed and distance achieved by a good shot putter. But it is an area in which New Zealanders are starting to make a big impression on the world scene.
Adams is already well established as the world's best but Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill are two young shot putters who we will hear a lot more of. Normally throwers do not reach their peaks until close to their 30s, but already these two have been setting New Zealand records in their late teens or early 20s.
The competition between these two will be something to look forward to in the coming months. Both should represent New Zealand with pride in Glasgow.
■ As many of you will have gathered, I have a strong affiliation with the Australian city of Newcastle. I even support their rugby league team, the Newcastle Knights, in preference to the New Zealand Warriors.
Two years ago I had the privilege of hosting a group of athletes from that city when they competed in the lower North Island classic meetings. I have followed their progress and was delighted to hear that one athlete from this team, Rhiannon Howard, has this week been selected in the Australian under-20 mixed Oztag team. I presume this is the Australian equivalent of touch.
My lasting memory of Howard from the tour was her dismay that, after winning a bottle of wine at the Sylvia Potts meeting in Hastings, it fell through the bottom of the bag and smashed to pieces on the steps of the Sports and Rugby Institute after their return to Palmerston North.
■ Last week I indicated that I would cover in more detail some of the Manawatu athletes who will be attending the Colgate Games in Whangarei early next year.
Ashhurst will be represented by Benjamin and Liam Wall and Barclay and Macy Cribb, the Wall brothers both being medal prospects.
Feilding will have a team of 13 athletes. Unfortunately I do not have full details of their team but do know it includes Haylee Dixon, Jack Beatson, Sam Wells, Melissa Blackwood, Jess Pfefferle, Antonino Va, Hosea Va, Cooper Hamilton, Anika Hamilton and Tiwha Rukuwai. They will be very strong in the throwing events.
Palmerston North will have 20 athletes heading to Whangarei and and team managers Shaun Popow and Vanessa Story are pleased with the calibre of their team and are expecting strong results.
They are predicting a return of 10 medals, with some strong relay teams.
The team includes Waituhuia Elers Metuamate, Te Paki Elers Metuamate, Jorjye Popow, Kylah Gunn, Luke Harris, Hael Pritchard, Ben Mori, Ashleigh Gunn, Bradyn Popow, Aden Porritt, Mitchell Rix, Ramundhi Samarasekara, Frances Allen, Caelan Allen, Atareta McCausland-Durie, Kate Mori, Ashleigh Gunn, Tulin Pritchard, Courtney Story and Harrison Porritt.
We wish all teams every success but most of all an enjoyable time.
In addition to these athletes, the Palmerston North club will be represented at the South Island Colgate Games by Michael Richmond.
- © Fairfax NZ News