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O'Hanlon throws down the gauntlet
With the London 2012 Paralympic Games just over one month away, Australian Paralympic sprint star Evan O’Hanlon has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals by posting a new T38 100m world record today on the Gold Coast.
Not only did the scintillating time of 10.83 seconds at the Griffith University Athletics Track unofficially lower his own world mark, it also become the fastest time ever set by an Australian Paralympic athlete.
The 24-year-old was understandably delighted with the performance, and while he admitted that the time did surprise him at this stage of his London preparations, he said it showed just how well he is progressing towards his goal of adding to the three Paralympic gold medals he won at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“I know I can run faster, but today was definitely a nice indicator that I am on the right path,” said O’Hanlon, who has mild cerebral palsy.
“I was a bit surprised to run so fast, but everything seemed to come together really well. To run 10.83 and become the fastest Australian Paralympian ever is a good feeling.
“I really want to thank my coach Iryna (Dvoskina) for everything she has done for me. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without her.”
The previous record set by an Australian Paralympian was 10.86 seconds, and was held by arm amputee and three-time Paralympian Tim Matthews.
But it now belongs to AIS-based O’Hanlon, who will arrive in London next month as the raging hot favourite to defend the T38 100m and 200m crowns he won at the 2008 Paralympic Games and retained at the 2011 World Championships.
Asked how much faster he could run at the 2012 Paralympics, O’Hanlon was reluctant to make any bold predictions.
“My coach and I aren’t focussing on numbers,” said O’Hanlon, who was also part of the 4x100m cerebral palsy relay team which won gold at Beijing 2008.
“Obviously I want to run as fast as I possibly can in London and my goal is to run a time so fast that no one will ever catch it.
“But I’m not thinking too much about it. I’m just thinking about building towards the Paralympics and making sure I am taking all the right steps.”
The London 2012 Paralympic Games open on August 29.
By Tim Mannion