The Para athletes took centre stage at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Christchurch as shot put aces Lisa Adams (F37) and Tayla Clement (F43) posted a pair of stunning world best marks.

In overcast conditions, Adams, who is coached by her sister Dame Valerie Adams, pounded the metal ball out to 14.12m with her sixth round throw to create a slice of history, which led to an emotional embrace between the siblings at Nga Puni Wai.

After only taking up the sport a little over 12 months ago, the Rotorua-based athlete has made staggering progress and today was a resounding confirmation of that fact.

“It is absolutely hard to believe (how far I’ve come), it is quite mind-boggling,” said Adams. “If I look back to last year’s nationals I didn’t even throw 10m.

“I did know what the world record was coming into the competition, but it wasn’t the targeted goal to smash it. The aim was to get stronger technically. Everything we do in training we pretty much apply during our competitions and it turned out well today.

“It was a special moment running over to my sister,” explains Adams. “I started high-fiving her and then the tears started.” 

Clement (Auckland) added 12cm to her personal best and was elated to set a world best mark just three weeks after joining a new coach, John Eden.

In the days other action Olivia McTaggart set a personal best as she won the women’s pole vault with a jump of 4.46m.

“I felt amazing, really good physically and mentally especially after I no heighted at my last competition so to come back from that makes it even more special.”

Youth Olympic champion Connor Bell (Auckland) then gave a demonstration of his rising ability by smashing his own New Zealand U20 and U19 records.

In windy conditions, Bell surpassed his previous record mark by 33cm with a 60.05m toss in round six to be crowned national champion.

“In better conditions there is the opportunity to throw further, but I’m quite happy with how I competed,” said Bell.

In the men’s pole vault James Steyn caused an upset to defeat his training partner and bring an end to Nic Southgate’s four-year reign as men’s senior pole vault champion.

Steyn’s first time clearance at 5.15m was enough to earn gold on countback from Southgate.

The action continues tomorrow with the final day of competition.


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