Dame Valerie adds golden touch to Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand (February 28, 2017) – Dame Valerie Adams, twice Olympic shot put champion and ‘golden girl’ of New Zealand athletics, will chance her arm at some very different sports next month at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North.

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Dame Valerie Adams during a visit to Manawatu Toyota in 2012 (credit – Toyota NZ).

A Toyota ambassador, Dame Valerie is back in her homeland before heading north for the forthcoming international season that will see her defend her 2016 IAAF Diamond Race victory, the fifth of her hugely successful career.

She will attend the Games on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March. The weekend event is being held on The Square and features national and trans-Tasman championships for traditional sports like speed shearing and wood chopping alongside fun contests for spectators including speed milking, hay stacking and wine barrel racing. Entry to the event is free.

It is likely once formalities of the opening ceremony are complete, Dame Valerie may even try her hand at some of the events up against the nation’s finest. It is also hoped that she will drop by the Toyota marquee from time to time over the weekend to meet spectators.

“It will be a great chance to become involved in the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games and celebrate pure heartland and traditional rural sports,” she says.

Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander says Dame Valerie Adams was the highest profile sportsperson to attend any Games so far.

“We are absolutely delighted that Dame Valerie is able to fit us into her hectic schedule. She is one of the greatest athletes this country has ever produced and a wonderful inspiration for all Kiwis to get out there and keep active, whether that’s in athletics or some of the quirkier rural sports we have at the Games,” he says.

“I have no doubt that she would absolutely smash the current New Zealand women’s gumboot throwing record of 34.45m set at last year’s Games and I reckon the world record of 49.25m is seriously under threat if she gave this a go. Everyone’s invited to come along and have a go at seeing how close they can get to a true sporting legend!”

On Friday 10th March, Dame Valerie will also attend the inaugural Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards dinner to present the award for New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year, in association with 8 Wired Brewing. Tickets for the event at Awapuni Racecourse have already sold out.

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games are sponsored by Toyota New Zealand, Fonterra, Husqvarna, Line 7, Mitre 10 and Norwood with major support from Palmerston North City Council, Manawatu District Council, New Zealand Racing Board and Simpson Grierson.