National javelin bronze medallist Alex Wood is a 70m thrower and rising talent for the future. Here the 21-year-old Hamilton City Hawks member answers our Five Minutes With questions.
Why and how did you start in the sport of athletics?
I started the sport at the Hinemoa Athletics Club aged seven. Back then I competed at 100m, 200m long jump and relay and I was a regular medallist at Colgate Games. It was not until I was aged 14 and at high school was I was first introduced to the javelin.
What was your first significant win?
That came when in my final year at school when I won the 2013 New Zealand Secondary Schools' Championships in Hamilton with a throw of 64.84m. It was after this win when I was first introduced to my current coach, Debbie Strange, and I was asked to join Stu Farquhar's group.
What was your first major setback?
That was after 2013 when I moved from the 700g javelin up to the 800g. It was a tough move for me because I was so small.
I had the speed coming off the 700g but not the strength and it took a toll on my arm. I would often only be able to complete six throws at each session and then have to watch Stu (Farquahar) and Ben (Langton-Burnell) throw out the rest of the session. It probably took a year for me to come to terms with throwing the 800g javelin.
Best piece of coaching advice?
That was something I received from an old hockey coach. It sounds harsh, but he said "second place is the first loser." This is something that has motivated me for much of my athletics career.
What qualities do think every athlete needs to succeed?
Definitely a balance between sport and life is important. For me I have many other things to occupy my time away from the sport. I am still trying to finish my electrical apprenticeship and I'm studying a Bachelor of Engineering Technology at Wintec. I also spend a lot of time with my girlfriend and I regularly catch up with my mates.
What is the most important thing you have learned from your time in the sport?
Good things take time. I'm definitely in the sport for the long haul. I understand you make short little gains, but it all about achieving your long-term goals. The big one for me is my back. I know it needs two or three years of strengthening is needed until I can throw harder. It will require time and patience but I know long term it will pay off.
What is the best thing about being an athlete?
I enjoy "smacking the crap out of the javelin." I love that!
If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
I would like to be able to teleport. I loved watching the movie Jumper and I think that has stayed with me. It would be nice to teleport to different destinations, so you wouldn't waste any time.
What is your hidden talent?
I play a bit of golf. I'm looking at competing into long drive competitions. I guess once again I like smacking the crap out of it.
What would be your last meal?
Probably my mum's shepherd's pie!
What is your karaoke song?
I don't really sing, but if I did I would probably go for Eminem's Lose Yourself
What is your greatest indulgence?
I do like a drink of bourbon.
If you could have three dinner party guests, who would they be and why?
I have a passion for DJing and I would like to invite three artists; Skirillex, 12th Planet and Barely Alive. To have them all there at the table to collaborate ideas with would be pretty cool. I would like to have a conversation with them about how they come up with their ideas.