Adams grabs another gold in major comeback
Double Olympic champion Valerie Adams says her third world indoor shot put title was "very sweet" after she was stuck "on crutches and in a moon boot" less than six months ago.
The 29-year-old produced five 20m-plus throws, with a 20.67m best effort, to blitz the field in Sopot, Poland, yesterday.
Adams' success - this was her 44th consecutive championship victory - had international athletics observers marvelling at her recovery from knee and ankle surgery.
And, to some degree, the invincible Aucklander even surprised herself.
Adams admitted she hadn't been confident of making the start-line in Sopot so soon because she had spent the last six months "training and rehabbing".
"To be honest, when I had the surgery, I didn't think I was going to be ready for Sopot; but it's turned out I am," she said from the Polish resort.
Adams said she owed her smooth recovery to coach Jean-Pierre Egger, who "came over [to New Zealand] early" from Switzerland to supervise her training, and physio Louise Johnson, who was basically encamped at Adams' house for six weeks, helping the master thrower get back into shape. "I can't thank them enough."
A 20.19m throw at the International Track Meet in Christchurch a fortnight ago helped boost Adams' confidence for her international return.
She was still "a bit nervous, not knowing how the competition was going to go" after so long on the sidelines.
But not as nervous as her opposition whose aspirations were destroyed as soon as Adams set foot in the throwing circle.
The four-time world champion is renowned for producing consistent series in big events but she said her Sopot numbers - 20.06m, 20.41m, 20.10m, 20.67m, and 20.16m were "pretty satisfying".
Adams and Egger didn't want to put stress on ourselves" but she could not help it because of her strong competitive drive.
Asked by a trackside interviewer 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 on March 22 and then the New Zealand national championships in Wellington on March 28-30.
Adams' world indoor title was her third after her victory in Valencia in 2010 and another gold medal in Istanbul in 2012 after silver in Doha in 2010.
She will return home with $47,000 in prizemoney to go with her gold medal.
Germany's Christina Schwanitz, second to Adams in last year's world outdoor championships in Moscow, won the silver medal yesterday with 19.94m. China's Lijiao Gong took bronze with 19.24.
Five of the eight-strong field threw over 19m.