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Adams and Willis secure podium placings

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/06/2016
Valerie Adams in action at the London Diamond League meet. © Reuters Valerie Adams in action at the London Diamond League meet.

Leading New Zealand athletes Valerie Adams and Nick Willis were both below their best but have still scaled the podium at a Diamond League meet in Birmingham.

Adams was slightly down on her recent efforts in finishing second in the women's shot put while Willis was third in a 1500m race dominated by Kenyan Asbel Kiprop.

Double Olympian Adams managed a best of 19.63m with her fifth throw but it wasn't enough to overcome American Tia Brooks' personal best of 19.73m.

Adams won with 19.69m at a Diamond League event in Rome on Thursday and with 19.68m two weeks earlier in Morocco.

She hinted at some frustration she isn't making progress two months out from the Rio Olympics, where she will be the two-time defending champion.

"Today was pretty average. Consistency sucked but that's where I'm at at the moment," she said.

"So I'll go away and work on that and look forward to the next one."

Adams missed most of the 2015 season to recover from multiple operations and is seeking to return to her best ahead of Rio, where her leading rivals are expected to clear 20m.

The 31-year-old said her form wasn't dulling her Rio confidence.

"I'm going to try and do the hat-trick," she said.

Three-time world champion Kiprop produced a world's best time this year of 3min 29.33sec to dominate the middle distance feature race.

Willis, who is coming off a training stint in the United States, was nearly 5sec back although he was only narrowly beaten into second by Morocco's Abdelaati Iguider.

The 33-year-old was content to sit in the middle of the 16-man field for much of the journey before accelerating when entering the last lap.

Willis plans to contest the mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo on Thursday, which traditionally throws up one of the fastest races of the year.

A third New Zealander, Camille Buscomb, was 13th in her 16-woman 5000m race.

After battling illness in the lead-up, Buscomb she was well below her best in clocking 16:11.17, nearly a minute behind Kenyan winner Vivian Cheruiyot.

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