Athletics: Hall to chase sixth NZ discus title in Otago colours

Marshall Hall
Marshall Hall
Marshall Hall leaves town next month, but will still compete for Otago at the national championships in Auckland in March.

The New Zealand senior discus champion has accepted a job as a youth justice worker with Child, Youth and Family in Auckland and will start his new job on January 14. Hall is registered with the Taieri club and wants to make it five New Zealand senior discus titles in a row when wearing the Otago singlet.

He completed six years of study at the University of Otago last year with degrees in psychology, marketing and social work.

Hall (24) is training at the Millennium Institute on the North Shore. He has competed only three times this summer, because of a stress fracture of his collarbone. His best distances have been 49.56m in Dunedin and 49.47m in Auckland.

He will have an operation on his collarbone, conducted by Auckland orthopaedic specialist Matt Brick, next month. He will then have four to six weeks of rehabilitation.

''I have been doing Olympic-style weightlifting in the gym,'' Hall said.

''It is just wear and tear that has led to stress fractures on the end of my collarbone.''

He is training for the Lovelock Classic meeting in Timaru on January 5 and will have his operation after that.

The meeting has attracted several high-profile athletes, including Australian Olympic shot putter Dale Stevenson, who won a bronze medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, New Zealand shot put champion Tom Walsh and Daniel Birkenhead (Australia), who was third at last year's world junior championship shot put in Barcelona.

Hall is targeting the Timaru event to get a qualifying distance of 56.50m for the World Student Games in Russia next year.

The time out of action for rehabilitation after his operation will make it difficult for him to qualify later in the season.

He is also chasing the elusive Otago senior men's record of 56.86m set by Robin Tait (Ariki) in 1966. His personal best is 54.02m.

''I have been training very well,'' Hall said.

''I have just got to work on keeping my big feet in the circle and I should pop out a qualification throw.

''I have had strong winter training and will be looking for some awesome improvements this season.''

The next target after the World Student Games is the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The qualifying standard is expected to be 60m.

''That is my longer-term goal,'' Hall said.

''I'm confident I'll be on that team and off to Glasgow.''

If Hall can qualify for the Commonwealth Games it is only another small step to reach the standard for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The discus mark was 62.5m for the London Olympics and it is expected to be the same in 2016.

''Rio has always been my dream goal,'' Hall said.

''The World Student Games and the Commonwealth Games are just stepping stones towards that.

''But they are all big priorities on my to-do list.''