17 Aug 2009

Vili retains world shot put crown

7:26 pm on 17 August 2009

New Zealand shot-putter Valerie Vili says she has plenty more to achieve in the sport after winning her second world championship in Germany.

Vili, the 2008 Olympic champion, came from behind to successfully defend her title at the World Athletics Championships at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

She last won the world title in Osaka in 2007.

Despite being in fifth place after two rounds in Berlin, Vili, 24, says she never really worried about winning.

She shot to the lead in the third round and never looked back, eventually winning with a distance of 20.44 metres - 24 centimetres ahead of Geman Nadine Kleinert. Lijiao Gong, of China, was third.

"I feel very happy and overwhelmed today to be able to come out and defend my title ... the German girl really pushed me out there, but I love a bit of competition and it was a great show," Vili said.

The 24-year-old has a couple of competitions in Europe before she takes a break.

She will have some downtime this southern hemisphere summer, but her next target is the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Athletics New Zealand high performance manager Kevin Antrim says the way Vili won showed she is in control and at the top of her game.

School 'over the moon' at victory

An Auckland school with close connections to Vili says it is overjoyed at her latest victory.

Coach Kirsten Hellier is the sports coordinator at Mcleans College and Vili, a former staff member, trains there four days a week.

Mcleans College sports director Terry O'Dea says the school feels it has a vested interest in Vili and staff and students are over the moon.