In Val Adams’ foot­steps

Young thrower aims high


Is Can­nons Creek about to pro­duce an­other Val Adams?

It would be dif­fi­cult for any­one to match the Olympic gold medals and world ti­tles of the Auck­land cham­pion, but 15-year-old dis­abled ath­lete Brandy Collins seems determined to try.

She re­cently re­turned from a suc­cess­ful crack at the North Is­land sec­ondary school ath­let­ics cham­pi­onships in Auck­land, where she won gold medals in the se­nior shot put and dis­cus and smashed her own na­tional records.

‘‘She’s just so pas­sion­ate and proud about what she does,’’ Bishop Viard Col­lege deputy prin­ci­pal Alice Wards said. ‘‘She hasn’t stopped clutch­ing her medals since she won.’’

Collins has global learn­ing dis­abil­ity, which means her learn­ing ca­pa­bil­ity is lower than that of her fel­low stu­dents.

But that does not limit her abil­ity in the shot put and dis­cus.

Asked what pushed her into ath­let­ics, Collins said it was the love of the sport and watch­ing Val Adams throw.

The shy, yet tal­ented teenager is determined to one day rep­re­sent New Zealand at the Par­a­lympics, and is fo­cused on do­ing what­ever it takes to get there.

She hurled her shot put 9.28 me­tres at the North Is­land champs, im­prov­ing on the 7.51m record she set last year. In the dis­cus she was among the records again with a dis­tance of 25.44m. Her pre­vi­ous best was 17.18m.

Her re­sults rep­re­sent a re­mark­ably fast rise for some­one who took up the shot put and dis­cus only last year.

Collins said her next ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion was not un­til De­cem­ber.

The year 12 stu­dent said her goal was to go to the Par­a­lympics or com­pete against Val Adams.

‘‘She ab­so­lutely loves it and it’s great to see her do well,’’ Wards said.

Collins is trained by Leamy and Sharon Tato at Trans­form­ers Gym, and con­tin­ues to work with Samoan shot put and dis­cus cham­pion Shaka Sola, a gold medal­list at the 2004 Ocea­nia ath­let­ics cham­pi­onships.


Brandy Collins holds up the shot put

that won her a gold medal.

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