Valerie Adams sets off in pursuit of history

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:01 04/04/2013
Valerie Adams
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TEAM NAMED: Four athletes have been named by Athletics New Zealand in an initial squad for the world championships in Moscow.

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Valerie Adams will return to her Swiss base next week as another history-making season looms.

Aiming to become the first female thrower to win four world athletics titles (and do so consecutively), August in Moscow could also see the New Zealander join only a handful of athletes to achieve four individual world titles - a select list of track and field royalty including the likes of Michael Johnson.

The double Olympic shot put champion will return to the mountains in Biel for six months on Wednesday, rejoining coach Jean-Pierre Egger and Swiss shot putter Werner Gunthor after a longer-than-usual start to the year in New Zealand.

Normally, Adams would have headed back to Europe well before now, but with Egger travelling to Auckland temporarily instead, Adams has had the relative luxury of training and competing close to home.

After one of her toughest seasons, Adams says the rollercoaster of the London Olympic Games has made her stronger - emerging from the shocking administrative clanger that saw New Zealand officials fail to properly register her for the Olympics and the ensuing drama of drug-shamed Belarusian rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk.

With encouraging early form, Adams says she is excited about defending her world title and attempting to throw further.

"It's been a good start to the year. I've been really pleased with the results of my first three events of the year, " she said.

"I've been able to compete in Auckland twice, which is very rare, and I've had much more time than usual to spend with family, which is really important to me.

"Looking back on it, 2012 was a year of the best throws I've ever had. It was just missing a PB; one big one. It was a great year, but it could have been fantastic.

"It was also a tough year. There were times when I was stuck in a black hole. It wasn't easy. It's definitely made me stronger mentally."

Training in New Zealand is not without its distractions, media demands, commercial responsibilities and being one of the most recognised faces in the country.

In Switzerland, things are a little different for Adams, and with fewer distractions comes concentrated training.

"I don't like being away from home. I miss my family and friends, but the distractions of home can be quite intense," she said.

"When I'm in Switzerland I can train and relax, focus on rehab, go and get physio done. Whereas here, a lot of those things can get compromised.

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"I know I have to fulfil these duties when I'm at home; it's part and parcel of what I do. But in Switzerland I can really get stuck into it. My life is basically training."

Dotted between now and August are key competition dates, mostly on the Diamond League circuit - dates that Adams reels off with clear focus.

"I'll pretty much go over there and train until Eugene on June 1 [United States stage of the Diamond League], get back to Switzerland and train through to Ostrava on June 27 [Golden Spike event, Czech Republic], July 6 is Diamond League in Paris, July 17 is Lucerne, 23rd to 25th is London and then the world championships, which start on the ninth and I compete on the 12th," she said.

"After that it's Stockholm, Zurich, followed by three or four other competitions, and then I'll come back to New Zealand mid to late September. It's a long haul."

- Fairfax Media

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