Javelin: Thrower hopes form will get him to 14-year record

By Dylan Cleaver

He may hurt all over, but Stuart Farquhar will be throwing everything he's got in his quest for gold in the javelin event. Photo / Paul Estcourt
He may hurt all over, but Stuart Farquhar will be throwing everything he's got in his quest for gold in the javelin event. Photo / Paul Estcourt

There's a number stirring in the recesses of Stuart Farquhar's mind - 90.

That's how many metres he reckons he's got in his arm, all going well.

It's not a pipe dream, but he knows it won't be easy. Put it this way, Gavin Lovegrove's national record of 88.20m, set in Norway, has stood for 14 years.

"I'd like to think it's 90m, or at least over the New Zealand record. It's one of those things where if I get everything right on the day - my technique's right, my power's up, I'm fresh - I think I'm able to do it.

"It's about getting all those things right."

The 28-year-old has won 10 national javelin titles, been to two Olympics and missed making the final at last year's world championships in Berlin, but he believes his best is still to come.

He has thrown the furthest in the Commonwealth this year and is, by his own admission, in good form.

Just don't call him hot favourite to win on Monday.

"I guess everyone looks at it and says, 'Oh you're the favourite, you should expect to win.' But when I did my personal best back in February conditions suited me," the Hamiltonian said. "It really depends. It is so hard to try to guess who will win just by looking at those rankings."

There's a big, flame-haired Australian looming too, and the way the green and gold has been there to thwart virtually every New Zealand attempt at winning in Delhi, it would be foolish to rule him out.

"Jarrod Bannister has thrown 83m this year but has a PB of 89m, so he's due for a big throw as well," Farquhar said. "It's a really unknown situation.

"It's going to be interesting conditions out there with no wind. That could prove a big leveller. It should be interesting to see the distances."

As with all the throwing events at these Games, the emphasis is on getting a big throw in early.

The conditions in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium can get horribly muggy. That saps the energy, brings on the sweats and makes grip difficult later in the evening.

"I think that's the key in these major championships, to get a big throw in the first couple of rounds. It's easier for you later in the comp if it gets hot and exhausting and it's beneficial because you put the pressure on the other guys as well. You set the standards."

The javelin is arguably the most draining of the field events.

It requires runway speed, an explosion of power and energy and, counter-intuitively, the ability to stop on a dime. Just watching it can give you a sore shoulder.

In season, Farquhar will typically have three throwing sessions a week, in the off-season more. During each session he will make 20 throws and 15 of those throws will be at full throttle. The strain that must put on the body, particularly the right shoulder and left knee (which locks on the point of release) must make javelin throwers early candidates for an arthritic old age.

Lovegrove, for example, retired with a chronic back injury.

"Everywhere hurts," said Farquhar. "The shoulder, the elbow, the back, the left knee ... the ankles. Everything. I have to manage it well, not push myself too far in training.

"There's always little [niggles] that come and go. You just have to learn to manage it well."

A gold medal should prove the ultimate painkiller.

- NZ Herald

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