Hamilton javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar will be in action for the first time since last year's Olympics at today's Porritt Classic meet.
The competition at Porritt Stadium is the seventh and last leg of Athletics NZ's Grand Prix summer series, ahead of next month's national track and field championships in Auckland.
Tomorrow's event has received record entries and one of the best on show will be Farquhar, who opens his season on home turf, following a ninth placing in London.
The 12-time national champion and 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist threw a personal best of 86.31m in the lead-up to the Olympics, before qualifying for the final with 82.32m, then only managing 80.22m when it counted.
Porritt Stadium has always produced good results for Farquhar, with a then personal best of 85.35m in 2010 being the meeting record.
The 30-year-old is now focused on qualifying for his fourth world championships, which are in Moscow in August.
"It's the first comp and it will blow the cobwebs out," Farquhar said. "I've done a lot more conditioning work with the high-end speed and full run-up training coming later. Hopefully, the wind has turned for Saturday and I can get a good comp in, and progress from there."
Following next month's nationals, Farquhar will compete at the Melbourne world challenge meeting on April 6, and the Kawasaki world challenge on May 5.
There are seven others competing against Farquhar today, including Palmerston North's Ben Langton-Burnell, who heads this season's rankings with 68.74m.
Another Hamiltonian, Camille Buscomb, will be one to watch in the women's 1500m after retaining her national 3000m title a fortnight ago.
Promising Te Aroha runner Kerry White will also be involved in the 1500m, as will fellow school student Arianna Lord, who won bronze in the 3000m and silver in the 1500m at last month's Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
An extremely competitive field is on hand for the men's 1500m, with Hamilton City Hawks club member Aaron Pulford looking to track down Auckland's Ben Moynihan, who leads the national rankings.
Hamilton's national champion Kristie Baillie will be tough to catch in the women's 400m, which will also feature Cambridge schoolgirl Talia Horgan, who will this year compete at the world youth championships in Ukraine, after winning the senior girls' title at the national secondary school championships last year.
Black Sticks hockey player Anita Punt is likely to continue her winning way in the women's 100m, following her win in Christchurch last weekend, after she was invited there by a competition sponsor to add some novelty value.
The men's 100m lineup is a top one, featuring national 100m and 200m record holder Joseph Millar, of Tauranga.
Pole vault makes a return to the meet after an absence, while there will also be 1500m races for secondary school athletes.
- Waikato Times
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