Golden girl Valarie Adams to visit Samoa

By Ilia L. Likou 29 October 2016, 12:00AM

New Zealand’s golden girl, Valarie Adams, is coming to Samoa next week.

Selected as New Zealand's first Pacific Sports Ambassador,  the triple Olympic medalist is coming to Samoa to conduct coaching clinics with up and coming elite athletes. She will also be travelling to Tonga.

Her visit was confirmed in a statement issued by the Office of the New Zealand High Commission yesterday.

“Valerie Adams will visit Samoa next week to promote healthy lifestyles and sports participation in Samoa,” the statement said. 

“Adams will conduct coaching clinics with up-and-coming athletes, speak with elite athletes, attend a ‘Women in Leadership Advocacy Programme’, and visit New Zealand-funded projects including the National Health Service health facility, and a Community health project.  

“She will also meet with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, prominent sportswomen and administrators, plus be the guest speaker at a NZ High Commission reception.”

Members of the public have been invited to observe a coaching clinic at 2.30pm on Friday 4 November at Apia Park for up-and-coming athletes.

New Zealand High Commissioner, Jackie Frizelle, said Adams’ visit is an exciting moment for both countries.  

 “Both New Zealand and Samoa celebrate Valerie Adams’ sporting success.  

She is a New Zealander with family ties to the Pacific (Tonga) and is a great role model for all of us,” she said.

“Her visit to Samoa will help promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle for youth and community more broadly." 

“She will also be an inspiration for high performance and up-and-coming athletes, supporting them to go to the next level of competition.  Furthermore, her visit will highlight the strong people links that already exist between New Zealand and Samoa.” 

The visit follows the announcement by New Zealand Foreign Minister, Tupa’i Murray McCully of Adams’ appointment to the role of Pacific Sports Ambassador. 

Adams said while she's excited for the role, there's still a lot standing in the way of international success. 

"They don't have the resources or the infrastructure to make that happen or the right people to make it happen. So hopefully while we are there we can help advise on ways to make it better and give the kids the opportunity," she said. 

She said there is a wealth of talent in the Islands and they just need a little help. 

"If we can go there and get them started in any shape or form that would be great. The biggest thing would be for them to represent their country because that's where they're from and that's where their heart is," she said. 

Tupa’i Adams role will continue to strengthen New Zealand’s already strong sporting ties with the Pacific. 

"Valerie Adams is uniquely qualified to carry out this important role. She has strong connections to the Pacific through her Tongan heritage and is one of New Zealand's most successful athletes," Tupa’i said.

He said this is all part of a plan to help Pacific athletes compete on the world stage. 

"The development of this new role follows several years of New Zealand's active in the sports sector in Pacific countries."

"This includes the Government's recent announcement of a $10 million Pacific Sporting Partnerships programme aimed at getting more children in Pacific countries playing organised sports." 

About Valerie Adams 

Valerie Kasanita Adams (formerly known as Valerie Vili), ONZM is a four-time World champion, three time World Indoor champion, two-time Olympic and three-time Commonwealth champion. She currently holds the New Zealand, Oceania, Commonwealth and equal World Championship records with a personal best throw of 21.24 metres.

Adams won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a distance of 20.42 m behind US athlete Michelle Carter. 

Adams is one of only nine athletes (along with Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jacques Freitag, Yelena Isinbayeva, Kirani James, Jana Pittman, Dani Samuels, and David Storl) to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event. She is the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the world track and field championships.

Adams was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, to a Tongan mother, Lilika Ngauamo and an English father, Sydney "Sid" Adams. 

Her father, who settled in New Zealand after service in the Royal Navy, had a total of 18 children with five women. 

Adams' youngest sibling is NBA basketballer Steven Adams, and two other brothers also played professional basketball in New Zealand.

She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Adams married Gabriel Price, a friend since childhood, at Temple View in Hamilton on 2 April 2016.

By Ilia L. Likou 29 October 2016, 12:00AM

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