Valerie Adams wins gold at indoor champs
Valerie Adams says her third world indoor championship gold medal was "very sweet" after coming back from ankle and knee surgery.
The 29-year-old clapped her hands with glee on the podium in Poland this morning before the New Zealand national anthem blared out over the speakers in the Sopot stadium.
Adams was at her imperious best, producing five 20m-plus throws to dominate the field and retain her title.
She extended her winning sequence to 44 consecutive victories with a winning throw of 20.67m.
Adams' triumph followed Kiwi compatriot and sometime training mate Tom Walsh's bronze medal in the men's shot put yesterday at his first world indoor championships.
The Aucklander won the world indoor crown in Valencia in 2008 and Istanbul in 2012 and was the silver medallist in Doha in 2010.
International athletics experts marvelled at Adams' dominance and consistency as she blitzed the field.
But Adams told an IAAF Radio interviewer her campaign had been a step into "the unknown" after her enforced break from the sport late last year.
She said her title was "pretty satisfying" and "very sweet" because the "last six months have been full of training and also rehabbing because of [my] surgery."
Adams said she and coach Jean-Pierre Egger were "really, really happy" that she had claimed her third world indoor title because they did not know what to expect on her return to major international competition.
She said they "didn't want to put stress on ourselves" but she could not help it because of her strong competitive drive.
Adams went to Poland after throwing 20.19m outdoors at the International Track Meet in Christchurch a fortnight ago.
She was "pretty satisfied" with that and was "stoked" to produce one of the consistently best series of her career with five 20m-plus throws in the Sopot final.
Asked how she had felt during her injury break, Adams said: "Valerie still has a passion within".
Her "passion and motivation for this sport" and her desire to continue her dominance had never dimmed. She said shot putting was "what I live for and what I crave" and that had spurred her on during the long hours of rehabilitation.
Adams will now return to her training base in Switzerland for a seven-day training camp before returning home to compete at the World Athletics Challenge in Melbourne and then the New Zealand national championships in Wellington on March 28 to 30.
She will return home with $47,000 in prize money to go with her gold medal.
The four-time world outdoor champion signalled her intent from the outset today, with a 20.06m opening round throw. Adams increased her lead to 20.41m with her second attempt, had a no-throw in the third round and then backed up with 20.10m in the fourth.
Adams produced her best effort, 20.67m, in the fifth round and completed one of the most consistent series of her glittering career with 20.16m in the sixth stage.
Germany's Christina Schwanitz, second to Adams in last year's world outdoor championships in Moscow, won the silver medal with 19.94m. China's Lijiao Gong took bronze with 19.24.
Five of the eight-strong field threw over 19m.