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Val Adams aims for rare Olympic treble

Val Adams aims for rare Olympic treble

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams commands a place among the most elite companies in world athletics and yet has the misfortune of not even being the most famous athlete in her family.

Adams will attempt at the Rio de Janeiro Games to become the first woman to win the same individual track and field event at three consecutive Olympics.

Already Adams is one of only nine track and field competitors to have won world championships in youth, junior and senior level, and the only woman to have won four consecutive world championships in the same event.

And yet when she gets together with family, Adams accepts that among her 17 brothers and sisters -- the children of her father, Sid -- she is only the second best-known outside her native New Zealand.

Her youngest brother, Steven, is center for the Oklahoma City Thunder who -- with his wild hair and lavish moustaches -- was one of the stars of last season’s NBA playoffs. Two other brothers have played professional basketball within New Zealand.

Adams’ rise to her status as probably the best female shot putter in history, has not been without injuries, struggle and disappointment.

“All those obstacles I’ve had to overcome have made me stronger, mentally, physically and emotionally,” Adams told New Zealand’s Fairfax Media.

“A lot of athletes probably would have retired by now because it was a long stretch coming back, but I didn’t want to go out like that.

“I knew I had at least one more left in me. I wanted to come back and retire on my own terms.”

While Adams first announced herself by winning the world youth title in 2001 at the age of 16 and further demonstrated her talent by winning the junior title the following year, she has negotiated a career path beset by obstacles and setbacks.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2016

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