Stuart FARQUHAR, New Zealand (Javelin)
Born: 15 March 1982
Coach: Debbie Strange
Stuart Farquhar was a typical New Zealand boy with a love of all sports. During his school years his free time was spent playing one of New Zealand’s favourite summer games, cricket. Farquhar excelled as a fast bowler and promising batsman.
His skill was noticed from an early age and he was selected to represent Northern Districts (provincial level) through the junior age-groups. He feels that the skills he learnt in his formative years playing cricket have helped him immensely in his now chosen discipline of the Javelin.
Farquhar came to the attention of throws coach Debbie Strange during his early years at St Peters School. Strange also coached Beatrice Faumuina, New Zealand’s 1997 World champion in the Discus, for seven years. She invited him to train with her and this partnership has remained in force for well over ten years as Farquhar has continued to improve through the ranks and gone on to represent New Zealand at two Olympic Games.
“I could see that Stuart had a great natural ability to throw the javelin a long way and felt that, with some coaching, he could go on to produce some outstanding performances,” Strange said. “We established a good coach/athlete relationship and, as a result of lots of hard work, he has gone on to produce world-class throws.”
Farquhar continued with both Javelin and cricket until the end of Secondary School. At this time he gave up cricket to concentrate on Javelin. “I won both the national junior and senior titles while still playing cricket and this gave me the impetus to give Javelin my full attention,” Farquhar said. “I was lucky enough to have Gavin Lovegrove (4th World Championships 1991) to compete against during my first years of serious throwing. He gave me some very good advice and was certainly a role model and inspiration for me.”
The 2004 Athens Olympic Games were the first major international that Farquhar qualified to compete in. “It was really an eye opening experience for me,” he said. “The Olympics are the greatest meet of an athlete’s career and I had 36 competitors in my event. It was a huge learning experience and made me determined to become a better athlete and perform well at the next Olympics in Beijing.
“I went to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne ranked 2nd in my event as I had just thrown a personal best in Sydney, going over the magic 80m mark for the first time. But things don’t always go the way you want them to and I was disappointed when I finished in 7th place.”
Farquhar went to the 2007 World Championships, in Osaka, on the strength of his 81.70 throw in Sydney the previous year but failed to fire, recording a disappointing 78.08 and failing to reach the final. “From then, leading up to this Olympics, I have really increased my training levels,” Farquhar said before Beijing. “I have worked hard on improving my technique and I feel that this and speed and power are coming together well. This regime is a difficult one and I spend a lot of time in the gym and at Porritt Stadium in my home town of Hamilton.”
Farquhar is a committed family man and married Leone in January 2008. The couple have a child, Tyler. Farquhar works part-time and looks after Tyler when not training or working. New Zealand does not provide much competition for Farquhar and, with his closest rivals in Australia, this requires regular absences from his family in order to travel overseas to get competition.
“I would really like to spend more time overseas competing against the best javelin throwers in the world but, unfortunately, I find it difficult to gather the financial resources required to do so,” he said. “I also really miss my young ‘fella’ when I’m away from home. I don’t like missing key milestones as he grows up.”
Farquhar qualified for the Beijing Olympics with a throw of 83.23m in Canberra in early 2008. He competed in Beijing in May throwing just under 80m in two competitions. Unfortunately at the Olympics he was not able to improve on his placing from four years earlier, leaving the competition in 20th place after having a few technical difficulties.
He continued to throw consistently around the 80m mark throughout 2009. Farquhar competed in the Belgrade Universiade, gaining the silver medal with a throw of 79.48m, and was confident of a good result at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Unfortunately it was not to be as he failed to make the final finishing in 14th position.
Farquhar has had a strong year in 2010. He improved his personal best to 85.35m at his home stadium in Hamilton. He retained his national title again, and has thrown over 80m in five competitions this year (including three of his top four All-time best results).
Farquhar will be representing Asia-Pacific at the Continental Cup in Split on 4-5 September before heading to New Delhi, where it is Commonwealth Games time again in October and Farquhar is looking to bring home a medal. “I’m the top ranked Commonwealth competitor but there is always tough competition within the Commonwealth so I will have to produce near my best of the day to get a medal.”
1998: 66.50; 2000: 72.22; 2001: 69.25; 2002: 78.51; 2003: 76.41: 2004: 79.68; 2005: 72.14; 2006: 81.70; 2007: 78.08; 2008: 83.23; 2009 – 80.16; 2010 – 85.35
1998 6qB World Junior Championships (Annecy)
2000 13qB World Junior Championships (Santiago)
2004 13qB Olympic Games (Athens)
2006 7th Commonwealth Games (Melbourne)
2006 6th World Cup (Athens)
2007 11qA World Championships (Osaka)
2008 9qB Olympic Games (Beijing)
2009 2nd World University Games (Belgrade)
2009 7qB World Championships (Berlin)
Prepared by Murray Taylor for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2008-2010.