Athletics: Kiwi Paralympic champion Lisa Adams announces shock retirement before Paris Games

Lisa Adams wins gold in Tokyo.
Lisa Adams wins gold in Tokyo. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi Paralympic star Lisa Adams has announced her shock retirement just months out from Paris Games.

Adams, 33, won F37 shot put gold at the Tokyo Olympics and holds the current world record in the class, as well as two world titles.

But Adams - sister of Kiwi sports icons Dame Valerie Adams and Steven Adams - has decided she won't defend her crown in France, admitting she's fallen out of love with the daily grind and wants to focus on spending more time with her 11-year-old son Hikairo.

"It has not been an easy decision to retire from athletics," Adams explained.  

"The sport has given me so much and many happy memories, but I just felt the passion and energy to keep training every day was no longer there.

"Some might wonder at the timing of my decision so close to the Para Athletics World Championships and with the Paralympic Games on the horizon, but I felt I had given it all I could.

Lisa Adams and Dame Valerie Adams in Tokyo.
Lisa Adams and Dame Valerie Adams in Tokyo. Photo credit: Photosport

"Following retirement, I look forward to spending more time as a mum."   

Her announcement brings down the curtain on a six-year career at the top of her sport, which began back in 2018.

Less than 18 months after taking up the sport, she produced a stunning display at the 2019 Para Athletics World Championships in Dubai. Claiming victory by a near two-metre margin, she dominated the final of the women's shot F37 setting a world record mark of 14.80m.

In 2020, she bettered this mark with a huge toss of 15.28m at the NZ national champs in Christchurch before later that year posting the existing world record mark of 15.50m in Hastings.

The Rotorua-based athlete maintained her dominance at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, setting four Paralympic records with a best of 15.12m to claim gold by a commanding victory margin of almost 1.5m.

After undergoing shoulder surgery in September last year, she made her final competitive outing at the NZ championships in Wellington last month.

Double Olympic shot put champion and coach Dame Valerie paid tribute to her younger sister.

"I've learned so much while coaching my sister Lisa," Dame Valerie said.

"It's been an incredible experience with incredible memories made together. Her transformation from a young mother to an inspiring and resilient athlete and woman is a testament to her perseverance and commitment.

"I am so proud of all that Lisa has accomplished during her time participating in this amazing sport of athletics."

Adams was part of a nine-medal haul for the NZ team at Tokyo 2020.