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North Hall's Chesley Kinney to compete in the National Jr. Olympics in Kansas
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Chesley Kinney, a junior at North Hall High School, poses for a portrait in Lawrenceville, on Wednesday. Kinney will be competing in the National Junior Olympics in the javelin throw later this month. - photo by David Barnes

North Hall High’s Chesley Kinney is trying to catch ‘lightning in a bottle’ with his strength and precision throwing the javelin. Still a relative newbie at the decathlon, Kinney took up throwing the javelin just a month ago at the behest of his Jackrabbits Track and Running club coach Andre Al-Ghani.

And he sure is glad he did.

Despite competing with pain in his right foot — diagnosed earlier this week as a stress fracture — he still managed to excel on a big stage.

On July 9, Kinney crafted a personal-best throw of 41 1/3 meters at the US Junior Olympic region 4 meet in Jacksonville, Fla. As the third-place finisher out of nine participants at the University of North Florida, Kinney locked up a berth to the National Junior Olympics, starting July 29 in Lawrence, Kansas.

“I had no doubt he would do well he is just a great athlete,” Al-Ghani said.

To remedy the injury, Kinney said he’ll be wearing a boot to provide stability for his planting foot.

The javelin is difficult enough on its own, propelling a pole with a spiked end that is around nine feet in length down the field after the run-up is complete. The injury happened to be to Kinney’s right foot, which is the one he plants with as a right-handed thrower.

“When I was competing I just blocked the pain out,” Kinney said.

Being healthy is a major part of being successful in the javelin. Success is not just a matter of who is strongest. Being successful in the javelin takes great footwork, proper form and knowledge of the optimal release point.

“My coaches push us to do our best and make sure we're giving 100 percent” Kinney said. “I would not be where I am at and would not be able to do a decathlon without them.

“I love the coaching staff”.

Kinney will be making the trip to nationals with his father, Jody, for the competition at the University of Kansas.

“I can’t wait to represent North Hall, (the) Jackrabbits and the city of Gainesville at nationals.”

Before the foot injury, Kinney still turned around a great performance in the decathlon, with a personal best in the 400 meter, 1500 and the javelin.

With his mark in the javelin, Kinney is the first to represent the Jackrabbits at the national level in his age group, according to Al-Ghani.

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