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Olympic campaign steps up for Adams

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/06/2016
Valerie Adams in action at the London Diamond League meet. © Reuters Valerie Adams in action at the London Diamond League meet.

Valerie Adams flexes her muscles at two Diamond League meets this week but still won't get a true measure of her Olympic prospects.

Double Olympic defending champion Adams will contest the shot put in Rome on Thursday and Birmingham on Sunday, giving another chance to gauge her return to the top flight after elbow and shoulder surgery sidelined her for most of 2015.

She has made steady progress this season, recording a season-best 19.68m in her last competition, the Diamond League meet in Morocco on May 22.

Adams, 31, beat a relatively weak field in Rabat and is expected see off lower-ranked rivals at both meets this week.

Not competing are the two throwers most likely to deny Adams a hat-trick of Olympic titles in Rio.

German Christina Schwanitz was crowned world champion in Adams' absence last year while American Michelle Carter headed her by nearly a metre when winning the world indoor title in March.

Another Kiwi attending his fourth Olympics is 1500m runner Nick Willis, who will make his first Diamond League appearance of the year at Birmingham. He will also contest the mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo four days later.

A strong 18-man field in Birmingham features leading Rio medal candidates Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat of Kenya.

New Zealand's other leading athletics hope in Rio, shot putter Tom Walsh, returns to Diamond League action in Stockholm on June 15.

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