Gold number two for O'Hanlon
25-Jul-2013 12:00 AM
Dual Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon (NSW) is once again the toast of the IPC Athletics World Championships after he won a second GOLD in the men’s T38 cerebral palsy 200m.
Providing the most spectacular highlight of the afternoon for the Australian team, O’Hanlon’s medal was one of an outstanding five won this evening session, as Gabriel Cole (SA, silver), Rheed McCracken (Qld, silver), Deon Kenzie (Tas, bronze) and Richard Colman (Vic, bronze) also earned their chance to stand on the podium at Parc de Parilly.
O’Hanlon is the fastest ever athlete with cerebral palsy and the current world record holder for the T38 100m and 200m, and his performance today highlighted why those accolades are not yet in jeopardy. A clear leader from the outset, the 26-year-old ran strong around the bend and into the straight before breaking away in the closing stages to cross in a championship record time of 21.95, which was 0.95 seconds in front of his nearest rivals Dyan Buis (RSA, second, 22.85) and Lee Whiteley (GBR, this, 23.00).
“Being a perfectionist I would have hoped for a bit of a faster time, but given the preparation I have had with some time in hospital four weeks ago I am very proud. It’s great to have so many athletes around me starting to push me to the line, that’s why I am so exhausted right now, and that’s a sign that our sport is on the up which is a great thing,” O’Hanlon said.
O’Hanlon has now won both the men’s T38 100m and 200m at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, the London 2012 Paralympic Games and here in Lyon. Astoundingly, in six of the eight finals he has broken the world record.
Determined to continue to improve, highlighted by his decision to add the one-lap event to his program here in Lyon, O’Hanlon is as motivated as ever under the guidance of his long-time coach Iryna Dvoskina.
“I obviously still want to improve as an athlete, I won’t be stopping here. Not achieving a world record here isn’t a failure, that’s why sport is exciting. You can’t perform like that everyday but I still want to do better.
“The reason I am here today though is my coach, she is a star at preparing athletes for Championships and that has been proven considering the last month for us has included me having viral meningitis.“
Tim Sullivan (Vic), who has won ten Paralympic gold medals in his illustrious career, also started in the T38 200m final, crossing 7th in a time of 24.38.
Adding silver medals to the Australian tally were Cole and McCracken in the T46 arm amputee 100m and the T34 wheelchair 100m respectively.
The second fastest qualifier coming into today’s final, Cole at these IPC Athletics World Championships has for the first time arrived at a major event fully fit after battling hamstring issues at both the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Enjoying the opportunity to run unhindered rather than hoping that his body will hold up, the 21-year-old surged out of lane four and was in the mix for gold from start to finish. Narrowly edged out on the line by Michal Darus (POL, first, 10.93), Cole crossed second in 10.96 ahead of Yohansson Nascimento (BRA, third, 10.99).
“Bringing home some silverware was the goal of this event, I haven’t had that for some time now, and to go home with something to show is a monster result,” Cole said.
“My hamstring has given me that much trouble in the past, I have been to the last two majors available injured and it was a weird sensation coming here knowing that I was OK and my body was ready to go. I had the opportunity to shut my brain off here, ignore what could go wrong, and just let my legs do the work.
“The bar for me now is to stay under 11 seconds. This time is awesome but if I can get down to 10.7 or something like that it would be pretty extraordinary.”
Born with a partially formed left arm, Cole now shifts his focus to the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games this weekend, where he will be joined, like he was today, on the start line by his Australian teammate Simon Patmore (Qld). Patmore crossed 7th (11.19) in the T46 100m here in Lyon, and together with Cole has aspirations of lowering their times in front of the big crowd in London.
“I’m just pumped to get back there. It’s going to be another amazing experience and hopefully Simon and I can drop something that impresses all the people there,” Cole added.
McCracken’s silver medal winning performance in the T34 wheelchair 100m for athletes with cerebral palsy adds another medal to his trophy cabinet from the IPC Athletics World Championships after he crossed second in the 200m earlier in the program.
Once again narrowly beaten on the line by Walid Ktila (TUN, first, 16.07), McCracken today stopped the clock at 16.29 to boost his confidence ahead of further competition in the 400m and 800m. Both events are new to the IPC Athletics program and the longer races are those for which McCracken has been most regularly preparing.
“I’m over the moon, that’s my second silver here and I did everything I could out there. I couldn’t be happier with the performance. I have battled Walid on so many occasions now, and there are times he has come out on top and times that I have. He’s a great racer and it is good to have him beside me,” McCracken said.
“I’m not going to put any pressure on myself, but the 800m is something that my coach Andrew Dawes and I have been preparing really heavily for and I would certainly like to do one better in those races. To have them available here will hopefully open up so many more options for my class in Rio, and the distance events favour my capability. My program has plenty of kilometres in it already and I think I now know the tactics for an 800m so I just have to see what the races hold for me.”
Equally impressive in the men’s T37 1500m was Australian debutant Deon Kenzie, who in a personal best time of 4:14.21 crossed for bronze behind Paralympic champion Michael McKillop (IRL, first, 4:10.17).
Kenzie was unfazed by the occasion and led the pack through 400m in a time of 1:10.07. As McKillop pushed to the front heading into the third lap, the 17-year-old maintained his 66-second lap pace before putting his foot down in the closing stages to almost steel the silver from Abbes Saidi (TUN, second, 4:12.78) on the home straight.
“You can’t complain about a bronze medal. I was so determined to stick to my set out lap pace and not worry about what the other boys were doing. The race was pretty hot though and Michael went earlier than I thought,” Kenzie said.
“If I am going to be picky I should have tried to go a bit harder in that third lap, but I worked hard in the last to make up for it and couldn't be happier to head home a medallist. It’s been awesome.”
Colman joined Kenzie on the bronze medal winners’ list, with his time of 10:24.09 in the T54 wheelchair 5000m a season best and enough to ensure a place on the podium. Adding to the bronze medal he won in the 400m on day two of competition, the Paralympic 800m champion went with a breakaway pack mid way through the race and held on for the third spot behind Marcel Hug (SUI, first, 10:20.16) and Masyuki Higuchi (JPN, second, 10:20.95).
“It feels good to perform well after the disappointment of not doing so well in the 800m the other day. I felt really strong and was able to cover all the attacks,” Colman said.
“When the pack split I knew that if I wanted a medal I had to go with them and I worked really hard to get on the back of it to make sure that I was in the mix. The attack that broke us all up was relatively early in the race so it was lucky to get around the other boys and go with them, but once I was there I worked for it and am glad that I was able to come away with a medal.”
Australia’s other hope in the T54 wheelchair 5000m was Nathan Arkley (SA). The London Paralympian stopped the clock at 10:31.08 to finish 5th, and together with Colman he will now prepare for the T54 wheelchair marathon to close the IPC Athletics World Championships this Sunday 28 July.
In other results from the IPC Athletics World Championships today:
- Sam Carter (Qld), who was competing in his first IPC Athletics World Championships final, placed 6th in the men’s T54 wheelchair 200m. His time was 26.02 and he will now prepare to compete at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in the Paralympic Stadium this weekend.
- Commonwealth champion Louise Ellery (ACT) finished 14th in the F31/32/52 club throw final. Competing sitting down and secured, Ellery threw the tenpin shaped implement to a best mark of 12.93m on her third attempt.
- Crossing in 3:33.44, Madison de Rozario (WA) won her semi-final of the women’s T54 wheelchair 1500m and will advance to the final.
For more information on the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, including athlete profiles and links to live results, please follow this link to the sub-site for the event at athletics.com.au.
ParalympicSport.TV is live streaming the Championships online. Please click here to watch.
By Athletics Australia