O’Hanlon Anchors Australian Delegation in Cardiff

Sprinter Evan O’Hanlon and four others were the first of Australia’s large Paralympic delegation to head to Cardiff for their pre-Games camp. 07 Aug 2012
Evan O’Hanlon

Evan O’Hanlon at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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“Everything should run on track and we’re feeling really quick.”

Five members of Australia’s Athletics team for the London 2012 Paralympics were the first to head off to Cardiff, Wales for the delegation’s staging camp prior to the Games.

Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon and four other members of the team that trains at the Australian Institute of Sport departed for Cardiff on 24 July for their final pre-Games training camp and will be joined by a few more athletes from down under on Monday (6 August).

By next week, Cardiff will host athletes from seven of the 13 sports that Australia is contesting at the Games, including Athletics, Goalball, Swimming, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Tennis and Table Tennis.

Cyclists will also be based at Newport nearby.

The objectives of the camp are to provide athletes, coaches and support staff to get used to the conditions in the UK and prepare in an optimum high-performance environment in the lead-up to the Games.

Australia’s flag bearer will be officially announced at a team welcome ceremony in Cardiff Castle.

“It’s going to be Australia away from Australia basically,” O’Hanlon said. “We’ve come over here early to try to get acclimatized to the air. It’s hot and cold over here so we need some experience in all the weather they can offer, and also coming so far from Australia we really need the staging camp to get our bodies ready and adjusted to the time.”

In Cardiff, O’Hanlon has been training with Michael Roeger, Brad Scott, Sam Harding and Scott Reardon under coach Iryna Dvoskina.

O’Hanlon won gold in the 100m and 200m T38 sprints at the Beijing 2008 Games, and as the defending world champion in both events he is expected to win gold in London.

“My times are definitely out in front of the rest of the world at the moment, but it’s a Paralympic year, anything can happen,” O’Hanlon said. “Anyone can come out of the woodwork and surprise.”

O’Hanlon added that both he and Reardon have posted some personal-best times in the last couple of weeks, noting that Reardon’s times are going through the roof every time he hits the track.

In his Paralympic debut, Reardon, a single-amputee, has the potential to medal in both the 100m and 200m T42 sprints.

Scott, meanwhile, will look to better his silver medal in the 800m T37 and also reach the podium in the 1,500m T37, where his top opponent will be Ireland’s Michael McKillop.

Because of its geographic location, the Australian team does not typically have the opportunity to see most of their opponents until a major event, so the athletes have been racing against their own times over the last year.

The team will arrive in the Paralympic Village on 24 or 25 August, and with preparations in Cardiff going well, O’Hanlon said he expects a strong Australian medal haul.

“Coming from Australia, we’re always travelling a fair way, and we don’t often get to compete against the guys before a major championships, but we’re used to that,” O’Hanlon said.

“Everything should run on track and we’re feeling really quick.”

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