This year, he made it.
Hall, who is from Carrollton, Ga., competed at the Civilian Marksmanship Program range in Golden Springs in December and at another range in Ohio this spring — and made the mark.
“I leave for London on the 26th,” said Hall recently at the CMP range, just after he had interviewed with a television camera crew. The match is tentatively set for July 30th, but Hall said the date is subject to change by Olympic officials.
Hall will first attend a training camp in the Netherlands for about 10 days before going to London. The time will give marksmen the opportunity to adjust to the time change and to practice a few extra days.
Hall is one of only two riflemen from the United States who will compete in the category of international air rifle, a sport in which marksmen stand up to shoot, as opposed to other categories in which they kneel or lie down. His task will be to hit a period-sized dot in a 10-ring, electronic target erected 33.5 feet away. He will attempt to score as close to 600 as he can. He will have an hour and 45 minutes to shoot 60 times. His personal best is 599.
Hall started shooting competitively at age 14 and he made the national team at age 15. He has re-qualified ever since. His level of achievement requires about two hours of “dry firing,” or going through the motions of shooting, each day. He juggles the practices in between classes. On Mondays through Thursdays, he pursues a business and accounting degree and works as a supervisor for a catering company called Aramark, which provides food at the university. Then, every Thursday evening, Hall heads out of Columbus, Ga., to the CMP — a 2 1/2-hour drive. On Fridays through Sundays, he shoots nearly four hours per day before heading back to Columbus.
He said he is tired of going to school, but he loves coming to the CMP range.
“This is the best air rifle range we have in the nation,” said Hall. “It has everything — two classrooms, two changing rooms. The bathrooms are made for ease of use.”
Hall explained that the special canvas suit he wears to hold him rigidly upright is hard to maneuver in a restroom.
Hall also bragged on the lighting that exists in the CMP.
“The lighting, T5, is the best lighting, the most consistent,” he said. “Even overseas, at other ranges, their lighting is not as good.”
Hall is from a family of competitive shooters. His older brothers, James and Joseph, and his younger brother, Jacob, all compete in either pistol or rifle shooting, but Hall is the only one heading to the Olympics. However, Joseph barely missed qualifying this year in a different category.
“It’s a lifelong goal,” said Hall. “My actual goal was to go to Rio in 2016,” said Hall, referring to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. “Going now is a bonus.”
Those who wish to see Hall compete, which may or may not be televised on the 28th, may visit the Internet website of issf-sports.org and search for “men’s 10-meter air rifle.”
Star staff writer Sherry Kughn: 256-235-3548