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.