New Zealand’s throwing darling Valerie Vili, the Olympic and World Championship gold medal winner has split with long-serving coach Kirsten Hellier.

Vili made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, stating that it was a difficult decision to make.

The split was said to be a mutual one though.

Hellier said in their statement: “After 11 wonderful years, I have reached the level where I feel I can no longer give Valerie what she needs in order to continue her progression as an athlete.

“My confidence in Val’s abilities has not altered and I wish her nothing but happiness, love and success for the future. My desire now is to explore new business and career opportunities and spend more time with my family.”

Vili, who has dominated the women’s Shot Put in last few years, said “It’s sad to be losing Kirsten from my team. “It’s been amazing what we have achieved together but I have more to do yet.

“We have talked together about the future and feel this is the best pathway to take.”

She added: “Kirsten has always been more than a coach to me. She has been an amazing mentor and friend. That part of our relationship will not change.”

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