Athletics: New king reigns, as Stu Farquhar vacates javelin throne

By Grant Chapman

Benjamin Langton-Burnell during the mens javelin at the 2017 NZ Track and Field Champs at Porritt Stadium, Hamilton. Photo/Photosport
Benjamin Langton-Burnell during the mens javelin at the 2017 NZ Track and Field Champs at Porritt Stadium, Hamilton. Photo/Photosport

As four-time Olympian Stuart Farquhar saddles up and rides into the sunset, he has left his mantle as New Zealand top's javelin exponent to Ben Langton-Burnell, who finally ended the veteran's reign at the national track and field championships in Hamilton.

Farquhar, 35, had essentially retired after last year's Rio Olympics, capping a career that also included three Commonwealth Games (winning a silver medal at Delhi in 2010) and five world championships, finishing ninth in 2012.

But whether it was the temptation to add a 17th national title to his CV or perform a mixed-metaphoric "passing of the baton" to the next generation, he was lured back for one more competition on his home track at Porritt Stadium.

Under the circumstances, the pressure was all on Langton-Burnell, who had become the third Kiwi over 80 metres earlier this summer and with four previous runner-up finishes, loomed as the logical successor.

And although he gratefully accepted the crown, throwing 76.59m with his fourth round, As four-time Olympian Stuart Farquhar saddles up and rides into the sunset, he has left his mantle as New Zealand top's javelin exponent to Ben Langton-Burnell, who finally ended the veteran's reign at the national track and field championships in Hamilton.the new king was made to sweat through the early rounds.

"[Farquhar] hadn't trained for it, but he was bringing all of his experience into it, so there was definitely pressure there," said Langton-Burnell afterwards. "I fouled my second throw, which was my best of the day, and he lead up until round three, before I managed to bring a bit of sanity to the situation.

"It was a good competition and brilliant to be back throwing with Stuey. I didn't think we'd be doing that again.

"Conditions were quite swirly out there and it was hard to hit it well. I'm still happy - 76 metres is still a good world-class throw - but it's obviously not where I'm aiming."

Having already achieved a Commonwealth Games "B" standard, he still probably needs 84 metres to seal a spot at this year's world championships in London.

Langton-Burnell, 24, will head to the Australian championships in two weeks to chase that qualifying mark and also prepare for the World University Games later in the year.

Through the final morning session of the three-day meeting, Auckland discus thrower Connor Bell and Waikato hurdler Cameron French provided the other highlights.

Bell, 15, had already threatened the national U18 record on Friday night and was just as impressive with the heavier U20 implement, stretching out to 54.38m to head off Wellington's Nathaniel Sulupo (52.98m).

French was unpressed in the men's 400m hurdles, recording a solo 51.58s to prevail by more than three seconds.

Check out live-streaming of the national track and field championships from Hamilton.

NZ Track & Field Championships
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton
Sunday, March 19

Men

400m hurdles: Cameron French (Waikato BOP) 51.58s 1, Campbell Wu (Auckland) 54.81s 2.
3000m steeplechase: Jack Beaumont (Southland) 9m 13.58s 1, Harry Burnard (Wellington) 9m 50.62s 2, Mathew Rogers (Lower Hutt) 10m 12.93s 1.
20km walk: Graeme Jones 1h 41m 42s 1.
Javelin: Ben Langton-Burnell (Manawatu Wanganui) 76.59m 1, Stuart Farquhar (Waikato BOP) 71.23m 2, Alex Wood (Waikato BOP) 68.86m 3.

Men U20

400m hurdles: Oliver Miller (Auckland) 55.92s 1, Isaac Milne (Waikato BOP) 58.13s 2, Maselino Fua Valaoga (Samoa) 59.43s 3.
3000m steeplechase: Blair Pennell (Waikato BOP) 10m 30.95s 1.
10km walk: Michael McElwee (Auckland) 1h 06m 46s 1.
Triple Jump: Christopher Goodwin (Waikato BOP) 14.27m 1, Matt Walsh (Canterbury) 13.99m 2, Andrew Allan (Southland) 13.12m 3.

Men U18

300m hurdles: Olly Parkinson (Auckland) 37.97s 1, Joshua Shih (Auckland) 39.64s 2, Louis Andrews (Canterbury) 40.25s 3.
2000m steeplechase: William Sinclair (Waikato BOP) 6m 10.05s 1, Murdoch McIntyre (Auckland) 6m 10.16s 2, Mark Day (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) 6m 25.10s 3.
Shot Put: Nick Palmer (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) 19.20m 1, Hamish Mears (Otago) 14.95m 2, Nikolas Kini (Northland) 13.24m 3.
Javelin: Cam Robinson (Wellington) 65.42m 1, Jared Neighbours (Canterbury) 51.73m 2, Samuel Porter-Samuels (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) 44.02m 3.

Women

400m hurdles: Anna Percy (Canterbury) 60.23s 1, Megan Kukichi (Auckland) 62.30s 2, Celine Pearn (Auckland) 62.90s 3.
3000m steeplechase: Rosa Flanagan (Canterbury) 10m 38.72s 1, Natalie Dryden (Canterbury) 11m 31.43s 2.
20km walk: Erin Talcott (International) 1h 39m 53s 1, Rozie Robinson (Canterbury) 1h 43m 23s 2, Laura Langley (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) 1h 48m 58s 3.

Women U20

400m hurdles: Amanda Fitisemanu (Tasman) 62.99s 1, Tegan Duffy (Canterbury) 64.81s 2, Ruby Hansen (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) 64.95s 3.
3000m steeplechase: Amanda Holyer (Auckland) 11m 53.94s 1, Hannah Haworth (Waikato BOP) 12m 42.50s 2, Sami Jordan (Tasman) 12m 46.25s 3.
High Jump: Alexandra Hyland (Auckland) 1.69m 1, Adriana Mawhinney (Otago) 1.65m 2, Imogen Skelton (Wellington) 1.60m 3.

Women U18

300m hurdles: Olivia Burham (Canterbury) 44.59s 1, Zoe Taylor (Auckland) 44.89s 2, Alessandra Macdonald (Waikato BOP) 46.07s 3.
2000m steeplechase: Charli Miller (Waikato BOP) 6m 46.74s 1, Tessa Webb (Manawatu Wanganui) 6m 59.34s 2, Liliana Braun (Canterbury) 7m 10.54s 3.
Hammer: Mallata Tatola (Auckland) 56.17m 1, Savannah Scheen (Auckland) 45.26m 2, Alana Ryan (Taranaki) 44.90 3.

- NZ Herald

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