Valerie Vili in the women's shot (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Valencia, Spain

Vili remains on the gold standard

This was a simple competition. Valerie Vili was simply in another class altogether.

The final of the women’s Shot Put on the final day of the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships was a parade of supremacy by the New Zealander, who came of age last summer when she wrestled the outdoor World title in the last round from the clutches of defending champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus. That was one of the highlights of those Osaka Worlds, a close head to head battle which went to the wire.

What a contrast a few months can make, as Vili never was challenged, never threatened for a moment today. Her 20.19m opening effort was never approached by the Belarussian let alone anyone else, and Vili’s 20.07m in round three cemented that supremacy, as did her last put of 19.89m, each of which would have been good enough for the gold.

Vili had blasted 20.13 outdoors in New Zealand in February but Ostapchuk was the indoor season leader with 20.35. However, you would not have gained that impression this afternoon. With the exception of the giant silver fern of New Zealand emblazoned on her black body suit Vili was pure gold today.

"The competition was very tough," said Vili, "a very good one. I have had a good time. I feel really glad and satisfied to have come and taken part of this competition. Now I must go on and get ready for the Olympic Games."

Ostapchuk’s third round 19.74m took the runners-up spot, with Meiju Li of China taking bronze in the sixth round with 19.09m which went past Cuban Misleydis Gonzalez third effort of 18.75m.

But today was all about one person, Valerie Vili.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

Li and González were upgraded to silver and bronze in 2017 when Ostapchuk was punished for re-testing failures from the 2007 outdoor World Championships and 2008 Olympic Games. She had already failed tests from the 2005 Worlds and 2012 Olympics. This time she was stripped of results in 2007-2012, a period which included two world indoor silvers and the 2010 gold.