Melrose student breaks – unofficially – the world javelin record
“It’s really pretty easy. Hold your arms out over your head – or over your shoulder,” he said, as he showed the proper form. “Run forward.”
And let the javelin fly.
Ian, a third-grader at Melrose Avenue School, spent the week before his birthday trying to smash the 8-year-old (400 grams) international javelin world record. The record was set in 2003 by Janne Juvonen of Finland. He threw the javelin 27.95 meters, the equivalent of 91 feet, 7 inches.
They think he did it, but they have to wait to find out if Ian’s officially going to be the record holder.
Ian made four officiated attempts to break the old record and apparently succeeded March 24 at Bryant College. “He exceeded the mark of 27.95 meters,” said his father, Kenneth Hall, “with his opening toss of 28.72 meters.”
He tried to repeat that recordbreaking throw but was running out of time over Easter weekend. On April 6, Ian went to Rogers High and made six throws into the wind – “a vicious wind,” his father called it. But Ian failed to equal his best throw.
Then on April 7, Ian threw the javelin at the University of Connecticut one final time before he turned 9 and moved into a different age category. In coming days, he will find out if his March 24 record-breaking throw is official and if the youth age records manager in Europe will accept Ian as the new world record holder.
However it goes, Ian will take a break from javelin for a few months and play Little League baseball. Then in October, it’s off to Hungary for a chance to set a new world record for 9-year-olds.
The Hungarian youngsters are already going after Ian’s record, Hall said.
“I like to throw far,” Ian said. “I like to win, and I also like to meet other kids around the country and to make more friends around the country.”
Ian has the fire, but he also keeps the competition in perspective, according to his mother, Samira Hall.
“He helps other kids,” she said. “He’s not selfish.” For example, her husband added, at the national championships in Myrtle Beach, Ian was “helping the kids and they all got personal bests.”
According to his father, Ian has naturally good balance and good body mechanics.
“There are people that actually fall over on their faces,” Ian said, “[because] of so much follow through and speed.”
Along with winning, Ian likes the feeling that goes with the throw. “I feel happy to throw far. I feel awesome. I feel competitive.”
He also enjoys talking to his classmates about the javelin. “They asked me how many times I did this in my whole life,” he said. They wanted to know how Ian did during meets and whether he ever was knocked out of the competition before the finals. According to his father, he’s always in the finals.
Ian was born in Newport and has lived in Germany, Italy and Washington, D.C. He’s a fifthgeneration Newporter who started throwing the javelin at 7.
“I wanted to do it because my dad did it,” he said. “When we lived in South Korea, my dad went to Finland…”
“…for the World Masters Championships,” his father interjected. He explained the meets were for men and women over 40. He placed fourth, and after he saw those events, Ian really wanted to compete.
But the U.S. does not offer the age events.
“There is a huge challenge in that the javelin he would throw for his age group is not formally contested in America,” Hall said. In international rules, children between 7 and 12 years old hurl a 400-gram version of the javelin. (400 grams is the equivalent of 0.88 pounds, or 14.1 ounces.)
“I did, however, manage to get Ian into a throwers’ competition in Norwich, Vt., in October 2010,” Hall said. “He was allowed six throws, and finished with a best effort of 20.82 meters (68 feet, 3 inches).” Ian and his father were later told by the editor of Javelin Throw Magazine in Hungary that his throw was an international world record for 7-year-olds. The record is official and still stands today.
Hall said Ian’s attempts to break the age-8 record all had to be offi ciated, even though he was not entering a meet.
The throws at UConn happened during a women’s meet because officials were present to witness Ian’s attempts.
“This process has involved assembling an outstanding volunteer support team of actual USA Track and Field officials,” said Hall. Among them, he credits coaches at both Bryant and Brown, Jim Cawley, the athletic director of Rogers High School, and Ed Harrigan, administrator of the Newport Recreation Department.