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Other Sports - 28. March 2010.

New Zealand Olympic champion splits with coach

The announcement came two weeks after Vili experienced her first defeat in competition since 2007, to Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus at the World Indoor Championships in Doha.

An emotional Vili said she and coach Kirsten Hellier, who guided her from junior ranks to world and Olympic glory, had decided to part ways.

"Kirsten has always been more than a coach to me," Vili said. 

"She has been an amazing mentor and friend.

"That part of our relationship will not change.

“At the moment it’s raw, it hurts inside, it’s like a divorce but our friendship will continue."

Hellier said she had "reached the level where I feel I can no longer give Valerie what she needs in order to continue her progression as an athlete."

Under Hellier, Vili won every major title available in international competition.

She was world junior champion in 2002, Commonwealth Games champion in Melbourne in 2006, world indoor champion, won successive world titles and took the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The New Zealander said her management team was working on finding a new coach.

Her immediate aims were to defend her title at the Commonwealth Games at New Delhi in October and at the 2012 London Olympics.

Vili said: “This is what we have to do to move ahead as an athlete and to look ahead obviously for 2010.

"I know that, for the future, it will be awesome."

Supplied by insidethegames.biz
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