Hall eyes Olympic glory

Australian Olympic athlete Linden Hall at day seven of the National Championships. (Steve Christo) 243311_01

By Oliver Lees

Former Sunbury Little Athletics runner Linden Hall has been selected for her second Olympic Games.

With the Tokyo Olympic Games starting later this month, Hall said she was looking forward to pulling on the green and gold in the 1500 metre event.

“It’s been exciting, it was really nice to qualify in the early qualifying period, unlike last year,” Hall said.

“This time I was able to get there at the end of the National Championships in Sydney, so I could celebrate with the team. It’s nice to have those team moments in a sport that’s pretty individual.”

Hall’s selection follows a run of hot form that saw her become the first woman in Australian history to run the distance in less than four minutes (3:59.67).

The 30-year-old beat the previous record held by Jessica Hull, who ran a time of 4:00.42 at a competition last September.

Reflecting on her record-breaking run, Hall said it had given her a lot of confidence for future competition.

“It was one of those perfect nights,” she said

“The weather was perfect and I had another person that paced me through the race.

“It was a fun one because there wasn’t really anything on the line seeing as I already had my qualifying time. If there’s selection on the line, you might play it a bit safer.”

“I thought I might as well just go for it, I might die in the process, but we’ll find out. Now I really feel like I’m riding high on confidence.”

Hall’s recent form has lifted her to rank 21 in the world for her distance.

In 2016 she qualified for the Rio Olympics with a time of 4:01.78

Hall came fourth in her first heat to qualify for the semifinal at those games, but then finished in eighth spot in the following race and wasn’t able to qualify for the final.

Hall has since impressed in other competitions, finishing fourth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as winning the 2017-18 National Championships.

Hall said now that she feels confident knowing she has more experience under her belt this time around.

“Having done it before will help massively because I know the drill, even with everything looking different due to COVID-19 processes,” she said.

“I know last time around I had moments where I was looking at other people, and thinking to myself, ‘should I really be here?’

“But now I’m a senior athlete on the team, I feel like I belong more with the top girls.”

Hall started her athletics in Sunbury as a child, where she competed at Sunbury Little Athletics and as a pupil at Riddells Creek Primary School.

“I only did one or two years of little athletics, and I remember getting annoyed because we had to wait around for Mark Blicavs to break the high jump record every week,” she said, referring to the Geelong Cats footballer.

“I think I really got serious about competing in grade five and six at school before going to Braemer College.”

Now based at Athletics Essendon, Hall will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of her fellow clubwoman, Margaret Crowley, who was the last Australian woman to make the 1500 metre Olympic final in 1996.

“I’ve gotten to know her, so that would be really cool to me and for the club to have that.”