An additional five metres and 33 centimetres is what Chad Herman, the South African under-23 javelin champion, needs to earn his passport to the Olympic Games in Rio. It might seem like a tall order, especially considering that the Tuks/HPC athlete’s personal best is 77.67 metres at the moment, but Herman is adamant that he is capable of throwing 83 metres, which is the qualifying A-standard for the Olympics. He says: ‘If I am not able to do so, I will have to admit that I am just another athlete ‘faffing’ about. Although I sometimes feel that it is ‘so near, but yet so far’, I honestly feel that I can do it.’ Herman won a silver medal at last year’s senior national championships.
He certainly shaped up during the past few months and he is much more muscular and leaner than before and admits to having dropped quite a few kilograms. He says: ‘I have decided that it was time to put in the long and hard hours and that shedding some weight may also be beneficial because I intend to be a ‘speed’ thrower’ rather than a ‘power’ thrower. Being lighter and a speed thrower is a certain way to prolong one’s athletics career. Just look at Jan Zelezny (Czech Republic). He is a former World and Olympic champion as well as a world record holder and he also holds the five top javelin performances of all time. He was competitive for about 20 years. When he was at his best he weighed about 88kg. Power throwers who weigh more tend not to have such long careers.’
Herman will start his campaign to qualify for the Olympic Games on Saturday when he competes in a Gauteng North League Meeting at Pilditch. He emphasises that there is no guarantee that he will start with a bang: ‘At the moment my coach, Dreyer Campbell, and I are still working on rectifying some small things in my technique. It is doing the small things right that leads to a good throw and to being able to consistently throw 80 metres plus. The one thing I have learned from being a javelin thrower is that patience is a virtue. The more you relax the better you throw.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott