"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo

Published 3:30pm 5 July 2021

"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo
Words by Nick Crockford

Brenden Hall admits he gets ‘goosebumps’ talking about the Paralympic Games, which are still more than seven weeks away.

The 28-year-old from Mango Hill will fly to Tokyo, via Cairns, with the Australian team, aiming for a third successive gold medal in the 400m Freestyle S9.

He is also in the 100m Backstroke S9, where he won bronze at Rio in 2016 and possibly in the 4x100m 34 point relay.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t excited about pulling on the green and gold again,” said Hall, who trains with the Belgravia team at Burpengary Aquatic Centre with his coach of nine years Harley Connolly.

"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo
Brenden Hal, left, at the Paralyympic trials. Picture: Delly Carr Swimming Australia

Excitement still there

“It’s a hard process and it definitely gets harder. Nothing prepares you for that, but I love every moment of it. The excitement is still there, 100 per cent.

“You are representing your country and your friends and family at home; your team-mates in the warm-up pool or back in the village are all cheering you on.

“That’s the spark which brings more out of you. I get goosebumps just talking about it ... and it’s my fourth games!

Hall lost part of his right leg at the age of six - after complications with chicken pox - and much of his hearing. Yet in Tokyo will join a select group of athletes.

"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo
Brenden Hall withj fellow paralympian Lakeisha Patterson and coach Harley Connolly at Burpengary Aquatic Centre.

Four-some record

Only 44 Australians have competed in four Paralympics since they started in 1948 and just 83 in four or more Games.

Hall was 14 when he qualified and 15 when he competed at at his first Paralympics at Beijing in 2008. Four years later came his first 400m Freestyle S9 gold at London 2012 and again in Rio 2016.

The former Petrie State School and Pine Rivers State High School student also won gold in his pet event at the 2010, 2013 and 2015 World Championships.

But the chasing ‘pack’ is growing for the Tokyo Paralympics (August 24-September 5).

"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo
Brenden Hall on the starting block. Picture Delly Carr Swimming Australia.

'More after me now'

“(There’s) definitely a few more after me now,” said Hall, “being the older dog in the pack you expect that and I’m glad of the competition.

“It’ll make me work harder in the pool and keep me on my toes. I’m going to make sure I do everything I mentally and physically can to hold on to my crown.

"Tokyo’s on the horizon and I know what has to be done.

“I have made a lot of changes since the world champs in 2019. I’m looking forward to getting up on that stage and seeing what happens.”

"Come on!" - Hall prepares for chasing pack in Tokyo
Brenden Hall, about to start training at Burpengary.

"Come on!"

Hall, who used to train at Grace Lutheran College Rothwell, his also prepared for the weight of expectation in Tokyo.

“I felt pressure in Rio trying to go back-to-back,” he said, “it hit me in the marshalling room before my race.

“It was hitting me at the (Australian) trials (in Adelaide last month) with all these 16 and 17-year-olds and I’m going “come on!"

“Hopefully when the time comes you can channel it the right way and get the job done.”

Looking ahead

And the future? Out of the pool, Hall completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Queensland in 2017 and is now finishing a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the Australian Catholic University.

In the pool, Hall said he is “definitely looking beyond Tokyo”, but will see how the body holds up this year.

“The Commonwealth Games (Birmingham 2022) are just around the corner,” he said, “we’ll have a crack at that. Then two years to Paris (2024) … we’ll see what happens.

“People close to me know what the go will be.”


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