The Olympic head-to-head between Valerie Adams and Nadzeya Ostapchuk is heating up.
The Belarusian, who has failed to get the better of Adams in two years, has found form with just weeks to go before the 2012 London Games.
Claiming the year's first stage of the Diamond League in Doha last weekend, Ostapchuk posted a winning opening throw of 20.53m.
But her following three attempts were no-throws, creating some uncertainty around the condition of the top European.
Adams is currently in Switzerland completing intense pre-Olympic training and is yet to begin her competitive programme ahead of the Games.
Her manager, Nick Cowan, yesterday confirmed to the Sunday Star-Times that Adams' competitive Olympic campaign will start this month, at the third leg of the Diamond League in Rome on May 31.
It's not clear whether Ostapchuk will also compete in Rome, where the victor would gain a major psychological boost, but Cowan said the Adams camp was comfortable heading into the August 6 Olympic showdown.
"Things are on track for Valerie at this stage of the campaign," he said.
Although Ostapchuk appears to be mounting a charge, Adams – the reigning Olympic, world, world indoor, world cup and Commonwealth champion – still has her name to the longest throw of the year – 20.67m, recorded in Sydney three months ago.
The last time Ostapchuk beat Adams at a major meet was at the world indoor championships in March 2010, and her most recent win across all events was in August 2010.
Their last encounter, two months ago, resulted in Adams reclaiming the world indoor title back from Ostapchuk.
Adams' career-best throw is 21.24m, posted in Daegu last November.
Ostapchuk's best is cited at 21.70m (indoor) – a distance she has never come close to replicating outside of events held in her native Belarus.
- Sunday Star Times
Where should Val Adams be presented her gold medal?Related story: (See story)