Tokyo Olympics: Dame Val Adams, Maddie Wesche put two Kiwis into shotput final

Dame Val Adams might not necessarily agree, but the Tokyo Olympics may be witnessing a changing of the guard in the NZ shotput pecking order.

In her fifth Games - and first as a mother - Dame Val has progressed to another final with the sixth-best distance of qualifying, perhaps an indication that she will need something special to reach the podium for the fourth time, much less win a third gold.

But following in her shadow, Maddie Wesche has also advanced among the final 12 throwers, twice beating her previous best to show she is more than ready to pick up the mantle, whenever it is passed on by her childhood hero.

Adams will be grumpy about the way she moved forward this time. Facing an automatic qualifying distance of 18.80m, she needed all three attempts to achieve that, as five of her rivals enjoyed the luxury of an early night.

Ultimately, her 18.83m at least avoided the inconvenience of having to wait around, as the four next-best athletes were determined.

Among those making up the field was Wesche, 22, who arrived at Tokyo with a best of 18.47m, but surpassed that with 18.65m on her first attempt and followed that up with 18.53m on her third.

"It's quite crazy," the former world junior champion told Sky Sport. "It was always in the plan, but I'm a little speechless right now.

"I just tried to stay calm and go through the rhythm, but I'm extremely proud.

"You always think about it and whether it could happen, but now it's happening, it's pretty cool."

Coached by Walter Gill - father of men's shotput prodigy Jacko Gill - Wesche will probably need to improve further to make the top eight in Sunday's final, but could not hope for better support in her debut at this level.

Maddison-Lee Wesche in Olympic qualifying
Maddison-Lee Wesche in Olympic qualifying. Photo credit: Getty

Even with two children in tow, Adams, 36, has been cagey over her future beyond these Games, but she will take some pride that another Kiwi is ready to pick up wherever she leaves off.

At the very least, Dame Val now knows she has someone to keep her honest in her own country.

"She told me to stay cool, calm and collected - and just have fun," smiles Wesche.

To achieve medals, the Kiwis must overcome the Chinese dual threat of top qualifiers Lijiao Gong (19.46m) and Jiayuan Song (19.23m). Adams has a season best of 19.75m earlier this month.

Less pleased with their efforts late on Friday will be the Black Sticks, who were bundled out of the men's hockey tournament with a 4-1 loss to defending champions Argentina in their last chance to secure a quarter-final spot.

They managed just one win over Spain and a draw against winless hosts Japan in their five outings.

Coming Saturday...


Eventing dressage - Tim Price 1:38pm NZ


Men's quarter-finals - OlyWhites v Japan 9pm NZ


Men's individual stroke play, rounds 2 & 3 - Ryan Fox 10:30am NZ


Women's Pool B - Black Sticks v China 12:30pm NZ


Men's Finn, Races 7 & 8 - Josh Junior 3:05pm NZ

Men's 49er, Races 10 & 11 - Peter Burling & Blair Tuke 3:05pm NZ

Women's 49er FX, Races 10, 11 & 12 - Alex Maloney & Molly Meech 3:05pm NZ

Mixed Nacra 17, Races 7, 8 & 9 - Erica Dawson & Micah Wilkinson 3:05pm NZ 


Women's semi-finals, classification & medal matches - Black Ferns Sevens v Fiji 2pm & 8:30pm NZ


Men's qualfying & final - Dylan Schmidt 4pm & 5.50pm NZ


Mixed teams relay - Tayler Reid, Ainsley Thorpe, Nicole van der Kaay & Hayden Wilde 10:30am NZ


Men's 81kg - Cameron McTaggart 2:50pm NZ