Tall guy is good at Frisbee, also Discus

Tall guy is good at Frisbee, also Discus

Marshall Hall is probably the best Dunedin athlete you have never heard of. Most people would have noticed him around uni (heís 6í10Ē and massive) and thought, ďwho the fuck is that tall guy? I bet heís good at basketball.Ē You would be right (NZ U18 rep), but heís even better at throwing a discus. In fact, heís a three-time New Zealand and two-time Oceania Champion.

Marshall has been tossing the disc since he was 10 years old and training seriously since he was 18. He is currently affiliated with the Taieri Athletics Club and is coached, alongside an impressive squad of throwers, by Raylene Bates. Most successful discus throwers are huge men, but Marshall stands tall even amongst some of the biggest.

This year is a big one for Marshall, as he prepares to chase Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014) and Olympic (Rio 2016) medals. Heís got a big schedule in Europe coming up, and has been competing regularly in Australia over the summer. Heís coming off some injuries, but his big levers combined with speed in the circle mean heís capable of peeling off some massive, world-class throws. It just needs to all come together at the right time. His best throws would have put him amongst the medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and that is his goal for Glasgow 2014.

Gus Gawn conducted a Facebook interview again (heís too short to do face-to-face) to find out whatís going on down at the Caledonian ground.

Whatís the biggest event you have competed in?
The Olympic Trials in Melbourne last weekend (March 3). I came fifth. It was a good result considering the torrential rain. Iíve competed in a few big meets in the USA against plenty of world-class athletes.

What do you do at Otago Uni?
Iíve finished a BA in Psychology and Marketing and now Iím doing postgraduate studies in Social Work. I want to make a life out of throwing a discus, but Iíd also love to work with children, somewhere like Starship Hospital.

Whatís the best part/worst part about an international Track and Field meet?
Itís a huge mental game. Itís hard to forget about other competitors and their previous performances. You have to stay focused on what you are there to do and not worry about anyone else. There are always a lot of cameras and huge crowds. Sometimes itís daunting, but pretty cool at the same time. Some countries have bugs and other things. I once got bitten in the groin by a ten-inch centipede while I was asleep.

Which country has the weirdest athletes?
The American guys are pretty crazy. They always yell and grunt before they throw. Itís more of a ďwho has the most testosteroneĒ comp.

How far do you think you could throw?
Iím capable of some big performances, Iíve consistently been throwing 57-plus in training and I had a 59m throw in Las Vegas last year.

What are your long-term goals?
My first major goal is to medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The next step is the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. Iím in the Rio 2016 High Performance squad so the journey towards the games has begun.
Is living in Dunedin good or bad for your training?

Itís ideal at the moment. We have a brand new High Performance Sport NZ gym on the side of the stadium that is world class and offers everything we need. Iíve got a top coach, great facilities and a great support network. Who wants to be somewhere like Auckland anyway!?

Have you ever hit someone with a discus?
No. That would be messy. Iíve competed with a long jumper who has been hit in the back by a Javelin, turns out he doesnít like to talk about it.

How good do you think you would be at hunting with a boomerang?
Not bad I reckon. Iím quite handy with a Frisbee. I donít know that itíd come back though.

What kind of support do you get from the university? The government, Sport Otago etc? What sponsorships do you have?
Iím sponsored by Adidas so I get hooked up pretty well with gear. I was on a Prime Ministerís Athlete scholarship and I also get Skeggs Grants.

Can you make a living tossing the discus?
You can and I hope to. Iíve made some pretty decent prize money in competitions so far.

Do you have a gf?
Yeah, Lucy, sheís great.
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2012.
Posted 6:37pm Sunday 11th March 2012 by Gus Gawn.