Tokyo Olympics 2020: Dame Valerie Adams nails early shot-put qualifier

Dame Valerie Adams has wasted no time declaring her Tokyo Olympic aspirations, with an automatic qualifying performance in her first competitive outing since her second baby last March.

Competing at the Potts Classic meeting in Hastings, Dame Valerie tossed 18.65m in the second round, bettering the qualifying mark by 15cm.

Her distance is the furthest thrown in the world so far this young year, but would have ranked her 15th-equal for 2019, 1.65m behind two-time world champion Lijiao Gong of China.

The performance was well short of her personal best of 21.24m, achieved in 2011, but also qualified her for the world indoor championships at Ninjing, China, in March.

Dame Valerie won the Hastings event by more than a metre from former world junior champion Maddison Wesche, who represented New Zealand at last year's world championships and previously led 2020 world rankings with 18.08m. 

"It's been a very hard road back," she told Newshub. "It's been 20 months since I last competed.

"Since then, I've had a baby and had problems trying to come back, but I'm really, really stoked.

"Our hard work has paid off - this is my best opener in a long time and I can build on this for my next competition." 

In March, she welcomed son Kepaleli Tava Sidney Adams-Price into the world, joining daughter Kimoana Josephine Adams-Price, born in October 2017.

Six months after her daughter's birth, Dame Valerie won a silver medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Over her career, she has won two Olympic crowns, four world outdoor titles, four world indoor titles and three Commonwealth golds.

Dame Valerie insisted she still had more improvement to make before the Olympics in July/August.

"I need to work some more... you've got to work harder," she insisted. "I want more distance, I want more competition.

"You have to keep putting yourself out there, that's all part of the Olympic year. It's going to be crazy, it's going to be intense.

"Everyone will be working just as hard, but I want to make sure I'm in the best shape possible, going into Tokyo... as much as it takes."

More to come