Val Adams ready to face world stage

Last updated 06:41 23/02/2014

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Valerie Adams has declared herself fit and ready for the world indoor athletics championships after a successful return from surgery.

The two-time Olympic shot put champion showed few signs of rust following knee and ankle surgeries last September, with a consistent set of puts at yesterday's International Track Meet at Christ's College in Christchurch.

Four of her six throws were over the 20m mark with a best of 20.19m. She had three throws over the previous best in the world this year, 20.05m, and in doing so passed her own test, which means she'll board a plane today and head to the world indoor championship in Poland.

"We didn't have any expectations today but we wanted to see where we were at leading into world indoors so I can say I'm now going to that," Adams said.

"It's important for me to go there and give it all I've got to be as close to 100 per cent as possible. I now feel like, after today, I can go there and have a good competition and compete for my nation."

Adams was coy in publicly stating her target on Friday but post-event revealed it was 20m.

"I'm pretty happy, it's the best throw in the world this year so I can't ask for more than that coming back after surgery. It's been an awesome day."

Adams got the crowd behind her early and several times raised her arms toward coach Jean-Pierre Egger, signalling she was delighted with her comeback on a sweltering Canterbury afternoon.

"There's still more there, the dynamic was a little bit lacking here and there, but all in all it's been a great competition, great crowd and a good day."

Adams pocketed the All Comers Shot Put title, beating national men's record holder Tom Walsh who was throwing the heavier 7.26kg men's shot.

Walsh had a mixed day; his first two puts didn't count as he was deemed to have touched the back of the circle in his wind-up, but he then got a couple out close to 20m with a best of 19.89m.

It was a meet record, beating his own effort last year by 7cm, but well shy of the 20.61m he threw early this summer to set the national record.

"Some days you just have to take it, don't you?" Walsh said.

Meanwhile, Canterbury's Angie Smit claimed the women's 800m title from Irish 1500m champion Laura Crowe and double Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nikki Hamblin, who was running her first 800m race in more than two years.

Rising star Smit, 22, who is now third on the all-time New Zealand 800m list behind Toni Hodgkinson and Hamblin, led from the outset and was strong into the headwind on the home straight, which the field had to negotiate three times on the 331m oval.

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Her time of 2 minutes 6 seconds wasn't anything special but she's been battling illness and was happy to get a win in a strong field.

Hamblin finished third in the 3000m and declared herself delighted with her progress.

Australian Eloise Wellings won the race from 17-year-old Cantabrian Rosa Flanagan, who claimed the New Zealand senior title after a mighty effort as the only junior in the field.

Australian Ben St Lawrence won the men's 3000m with Daniel Balchin (third overall) winning the New Zealand title from fellow Canterbury runner Callan Moody (fourth overall).

- Sunday Star Times

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