“We’ve always been good at throwing things except tantrums," quips Cam Robinson when addressing the question of why he and his younger brother Tim Robinson have enjoyed success in javelin throwing.
On the weekend at the National Secondary School Track and Field Championships in Hastings, the Wellington College duo won gold medals in the senior and junior disciplines respectively.
Cam (Year 12) threw a personal best of 69.68m to defeat Anton Schroeder from Otago Boys’ High School by more than 10 metres. Tim (Year 11) threw 54.99m to edge Ethan Walker of Tokomairiro High School by four metres.
“I managed to pop out a 69 with my first attempt which was a great start,” Cam recalls.
“I wanted to throw over 70m but I am happy anyway. That is my PB, beating the 65m I threw earlier in the year at the Porritt Classic. I have been working really hard and it feels great to win my first national title,” he continued.
Tim, overcoming a back injury prior to the meet, was forced to work a lot harder for his triumph.
“My best throw was the fourth of six. Ethan is a real tough competitor. It was pretty nervy there for a while,” Tim reflects.
Both boys started hurling the spear seriously only recently. Wins in the annual McEvedy Shield athletics meet between Wellington College, St Patrick’s Colleges Town and Silverstream and Rongotai College was a big inspiration.
“McEvedy is great. The atmosphere is really loud and competitive. I gave up cricket because I thought I was fast, when I am not.” Cam explains.
Naturally, Tim has got into javelin through Cam. “He has learnt it and then he has passed it on to me so I owe a lot of it to him,” Tim says.
Both also thank the Wellington College athletics coaches and also coach Debbie Strange – former Olympian Stuart Farquhar’s coach - for their success.
Both are seniors next year, so all going to plan they will soon be competing against each other.
The school finished for the year, what does a national champion javelin thrower get up to in the following days? “I’m off shearing for a few days at the family farm up in Hunterville,” says Cam.
Wellington College enjoyed a very successful meeting securing nine medals in total. In addition to the Robinson brothers’ gold medals, Sean Howe took home a silver medal in the senior shot put and a bronze in the discus.
Rowan Blaikie won silver in the senior 400m. Harley Patel-Muxlow claimed a silver in the junior long jump and bronze in the hurdles. Xander Manktelow collected a bronze in the junior high jump and the senior relay team were runners up in the 4x400m relay.
If brotherly success was the major feature of the boys javelin, record-breaking was the highlight of the senior girls competition. First Caitlyn Bonne from St Margaret's College surpassed the previous record of 44.44m with a fantastic throw of 47.97m and then Tanya Murray of Santa Maria College unleashed a huge effort of 48.95m in the fifth round to take the title. Murray's throw also added more than three metres to her own New Zealand Under 17 record set at the 2016 national championships in Dunedin.
Evidently the boys javelin records are still held by former New Zealand Olympians. In 1997, Stuart Farquhar threw 65.36m in winning the junior javelin crown while in 1984 Gavin Lovegrove threw 73.74m in a smashing senior success.
Perhaps the most notable achievement in the boys field was the performance of Junior Commonwealth Games discus champion Connor Bell from Westlake Boys’ High School. Bell not only bettered Chris Mene’s 1990 school’s record of 61.76m in the senior discus throw, he also improved on his New Zealand under 17 and under 18 records with his massive effort of 65.63m.
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