Thrower moves up, eyes the big time
Manawatu javelin thrower Ben Langton-Burnell is living the dream training fulltime as he looks to add crucial metres to his distance in Commonwealth Games year.
Langton-Burnell shifted to Hamilton last week so he could train fulltime with three-time New Zealand Olympian Stuart Farquhar and coach Debbie Strange.
The 21-year-old Langton-Burnell has been training twice a day, six days a week, living as a professional athlete.
"It is living my dream being able to train [with Farquhar]," Langton-Burnell said. "It's like for a sprinter being able to train with Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, one of those top sprinters."
Strange is the former coach of Commonwealth Games discus gold medallist Beatrice Faumuina and saw the potential in Langton-Burnell.
Being able to train regularly with Farquhar and Strange helps as Langton-Burnell was previously working with them only when he could get to Hamilton.
They also train with Johan Smalberger from Auckland, who has come back into the sport and is looking to follow a similar path.
Langton-Burnell hasn't competed in nine months, having spent that time training - his last competition was at nationals nearly a year ago year - but has a lot planned for the back end of the summer.
He will compete at the Capital Classic this weekend, the Porritt Classic (Hamilton), the Manawatu championships, the Sydney Classic, New Zealand championships in Wellington and the Australia championships in Melbourne.
Langton-Burnell is also eyeing up a meeting in Japan.
He said his personal best was still the 72m from early last season, but the signs were looking good for going past that.
"I've had big throws in training, 74, 76 metres, but it's a different game in competition. We'll just see how it goes."
He needs to hit 79m to qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July but he has few months left before they name the team.
"If I don't get there I won't be upset. I'll try to get to the world champs and the world university games. "I'm still very young and I have a lack of experience in the gym."
He is still young in the sport and is building his strength, which can take years, he said.
Depending on how the rest of the summer goes, he may compete in Europe during winter.
Seventy-nine metres would be a hard throw, he admitted, but if conditions were right, he might be able to achieve it.
Langton-Burnell has been running, doing gymnastics, netball drills, as well as gym work and throwing, as he has been "doing everything trying to get perfection".
"I couldn't have trained any harder," he said "and I know the results in this season's competition are going to show that."
Javelin throwers need to to be strong but don't want to bulk up and risk losing any speed or explosiveness when on the runway.
From a farm between Foxton and Levin, he is studying extramurally his third year at Massey University, which he has split into two because he needs time to train.