30 AUG 2011 General News Daegu, Korea

With hat trick of gold medals, Adams joins legendary shot putters Kumbernuss and Günthör

Valerie Adams celebrates setting a championship record of 21.24m to win gold in Daegu (Getty Images)Valerie Adams celebrates setting a championship record of 21.24m to win gold in Daegu (Getty Images) © Copyright

Valerie Adams has made it three in a row now. And she crowned her hat trick of World Championships gold medals with a Championships’ record and a personal best.


Additionally of course she set a record for New Zealand plus an Oceania and Commonwealth record. The 26 year-old produced a superb last round effort of 21.24 metres on Monday night.


“I knew I had a big throw in me when I came here. I thought 21 metres would be possible. I simply had to get it out – so I smashed it out,” said a jubilant Valerie Adams.


The New Zealander, who originates from Rotorua, had a great and consistent series this season already before she came to South Korea. She had won all of her nine competitions leading up to Daegu – among them were the high-class Samsung Diamond League meetings in Oslo, Paris, Stockholm and London.


Adams was on her way back to her very best after a more difficult year in 2010. But regarding the season’s list she had not been the number one before the World Championships. That spot belonged to Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, who had achieved a 20.94m season’s best compared to Valerie Adams’ 20.78.


So it was may be a bit of a surprise that Adams dominated the final in such fashion and achieved such a great winning result, with which she climbed to number 22 in the all-time lists. As a couple of times in the past – for example at her first World Championships gold medal win in 2007 – she produced her best throw with her last attempt. In 2007 she snatched the gold medal from Nadzeya Ostapchuk and now she broke her own national and Area records. In fact it was her ninth Oceania and Commonwealth record and her 22nd national best.


“I am mad, I am so happy,” said Adams, adding: “I have made so many sacrifices and have been away from home for such a long time.”


She dedicated her title to her brother-in-law’s mother, who had died recently. Then she pointed to a photo she was carrying with her in the mixed zone of the stadium, showing Switzerland’s Jean-Pierre Egger.


“I owe all this success to him,” she said. He became her new coach, after the less successful 2010 season during which her win streak came to an end. In March she had to be content with second place behind Nadzeya Ostapchuk at the World Indoor Championships. Up to Doha she had not lost in 28 successive competitions since September 2007.


Her long-term coach Kirsten Hellier had been her first coach and the one who guided her from a junior into world-class. At the age of 14 Valerie, who has a Tongan mother and her late father came from England, achieved 14 metres. Then each year up to the age of 18 she improved her personal best by roughly a metre. So by coincidence age and distance matched for five years.


Having been very successful at junior level with gold medals at the World Youth and World Junior Championships she took her first major gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. Then she went on to become World and Olympic champion.


Choosing Jean-Pierre Egger as her coach and working close with Swiss Shot Put legend Werner Günthör, who won the World title three times in a row as well (1987, 1991 and 1993), she has spent much of her time in Switzerland.


“I have to thank the people who are there with me – they made me feel at home,” said Adams.


Regarding her World Championship’s gold medal tally of three she has now moved up level with Astrid Kumbernuss. The German, who had been as dominant in the 90s as Adams is now, had taken three gold medals in a row from 1995 to 1999. But regarding the total number of World Championships’ medals the New Zealander has now even passed the German with her 2005 bronze medal.


In the history of the World Championships New Zealand has won four gold medals so far. Three of them belong to Adams. The other win came from a woman thrower as well: Beatrice Faumuina had taken the Discus Throw in 1997. It looks very likely that Adams will produce many more medals plus some more records for her country. At the age of 26 she is still young for the Shot Put.


Jörg Wenig for the IAAF