Valerie Adams hopeful of more events in NZ

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2013
Valerie Adams
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HOME TOWN FAVOURITE: Valerie Adams will begin her season with an event at The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront on March 2.

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Sport minister Murray McCully and double Olympic champion Valerie Adams are optimistic New Zealand can begin hosting regular international athletics meets.

Next month, downtown Auckland's waterfront venue The Cloud will be turned into an international shot-put venue in what is Adams' first competitive hometown appearance in three years.

The concept is similar to distinctive, high-profile events in Europe; notably shot-put stages of the prestigious global Diamond League circuit, which have been held in Zurich's train station.

Adams and her management have been trying to get "Shot in the City" over the line for two years - a concept they had hoped would be a warm-up for the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

Adams - the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion - is hopeful of seeing the idea gain a foothold.

"I'm excited for this to happen. It's something I've always wanted to do and means we can showcase international shot-put," she said.

"My event is almost always done in the middle of the track, there's no way for people to actually get close and see the action. But, it's not like javelin which needs a lot of room.

"Hopefully this is not a one-off, at least something that can be repeated before I retire.

"I haven't competed in Auckland for three years, it's a very long time. That's why it's important for me to have this happen.

"It's important for me to be able to give something back to the fans too."

McCully said he was a "strong supporter" of the initiative, which was made possible by taxpayer funding, Auckland ratepayers and the commercial sector.

McCully pointed to the impact it could have on young New Zealanders and said he was hopeful the event would gain traction with the public.

"It's a great opportunity for people to see an elite athlete like Valerie, who I believe is inspirational," he said. 

"I strongly support the initiative. Sport New Zealand, through High Performance Sport New Zealand, has provided significant support for all of our elite athletes and it's very important the people who provide that funding, the public, have the opportunity to see our stars in action.

"We've got a budget that we need to managed, but there's got to be mix of things happening here."

Trinidad and Tobago champion Cleopatra Borel-Brown is also confirmed for the March 2 event and another top international shot-putter also is expected to confirmed soon.

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"It's free as well, which I think is really important. People can just turn up and see what it is we do," Adams said.

"I'm very happy to have this event finalised, it's quite on the limit in terms of timing being only a couple of weeks away, but the main thing it's over the line.

"It is an international competition and is my debut too, so I'm keen to get out there and get the season off to a good start.

"There's international throwers who will be coming along, there's no world-class competition in the southern hemisphere so to be able to bring people down is really good for us."

- Fairfax Media

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