2012-08-02 / News

9-year-old breaks AAU javelin record

Ian Hall sets the mark on his first throw of the event
BY MARGO SULLIVAN


Ian Hall broke the national javelin record for his age on his first throw at an Amateur Athletic Union meet. His toss of 83 feet, 7 inches, broke the old mark by 6 inches. 
PHOTO COURTESY OF KEN HALL Ian Hall broke the national javelin record for his age on his first throw at an Amateur Athletic Union meet. His toss of 83 feet, 7 inches, broke the old mark by 6 inches. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEN HALL Jamestown’s Ian Hall will have an easy-peasy time when his teacher asks how he spent his summer vacation.

The 9-year-old set a national record for the longest javelin throw in the Amateur Athletic Union’s sub-bantam division, which is for kids younger than 10. Ian, the son of Ken and Samira Hall, spent most of the summer playing Little League, but continues to wield a magic touch with the javelin.

On July 12, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Center in Orlando, Fla., his father said he “out gunned” 16 other sub-bantam competitors with a throw of 83 feet, 7 inches (25.47 meters). Ian broke the national record by 6 inches on his first throw.

Then he capped off his recordsmashing July by setting a meet record at the Needham Youth Classic in Massachusetts.

Ian said he blew his elbow out at that event but was able to win anyway.

“My elbow still hurts from Needham,” Ian said recently. He explained that he was hurt because he made a mistake and threw the javelin sidearm.

This week, he was set to compete in his final competition of the summer, the Needham All-Star Meet, before turning his attention to the London Olympic Games. A family friend, Brown University graduate Craig Kinsley, will compete Aug. 8 in the men’s javelin qualifying round, and Ian will be rooting for him.

Ken Hall also hopes the javelin itself will bring Kinsley luck. During the London Olympics, Kinsley will use Hall’s javelin, “Big Blue,” named for its electric blue color.

After the Olympics, Kinsley, a native of Fairfield, Conn., will team up with Ian and speak to budding track stars in Rhode Island schools. He’s not sure yet about the schedule. Tom Petranoff, the inventor of the Turbo javelin, is setting up the speaking tour. Petranoff is an Illinois native and a former world record holder. He now lives in Rhode Island.

Kinsley, Hall said, has “inspired” Ian.

“He’s been kind of supporting of Ian,” Hall said. “He’s great with mentoring. They push each other.”

For example, when Kinsley called and told Ian he was going to the Olympics, Ian shot back that he’d just set a national record.

Ian said his goal is to become the first man to throw the javelin 100 meters (328 feet) – the current record is 98.48 meters. And someday, he also wants to compete in the Olympic Games. Ian wants to become “known,” he said, and he savored the thrill at the AAU Club Championships.

“It was his first AAU competition ever because they’re so rare,” his father said.

Ian has gone to big events before, such as the 2011 USA Youth Track & Field Championships, but this atmosphere was different.

Ken Hall said that this was the first time Ian had a formal audience watching the javelin, and said the bleachers were “fairly packed” with people the entire day.

The event drew 3,500 athletes, according to Trevor Hartwig, the meet’s director.

Ian said he never before threw the javelin inside a big stadium with a large audience watching. He didn’t feel nervous. In fact, he liked having the crowd behind him.

“It felt better,” he said. “Before there were no bleachers and it was outside the stadium.”

Ian arrived at the sports center about two hours before the event. The family stayed at a hotel in Disney World about six minutes away from the stadium. The original plan called for a day at the amusement park, but Ian decided to skip Disney World and spend the two days before the meet on the beach at Daytona. He liked riding the waves on a boogie board at Daytona Beach.

“I really like it because it’s not like seaweed and rocks,” he said.

“It was 80 degrees – warm and beautiful and clean,” his father added. After the 18-hour ride from Jamestown, Ian relaxed and “got some water workouts.”

On meet day, when they arrived at the stadium, they went to a waiting area.

“In the beginning, you and your parents are taken to wait in shade where the benches are,” Ian said. The officials call the athletes when it’s time for the event.

Said his dad, “They put them in line like at recess. They call you up, you throw, and then you go back to the line.”

All 16 athletes took three throws in the qualifying round. The top eight continued on to the finals.

Ian’s first throw, which set the record, was the toss that won the event. “His opening throw was the national record,” Ken said. That gave Ian a definite psychological advantage. “It shut down the rest of the kids.”.

Ian’s mark breaks the previous AAU 400-gram record set in 2010 by Jeff Kinder, who tossed the javelin 83 feet, 1 inch (25.32 meters). They certified Ian’s record right there on the spot.

Aside from his record-breaking throw, Ken Hall said his son put on a “solid performance.” The 9-year-old threw the javelin out of bounds only once, and all his other throws were good enough to win the event.

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