Paralympic Games
06 - 17 September

O’Hanlon fires first warning shot at World Championship rivals

14 Jan 2011

Triple Paralympic gold medallist Evan O’Hanlon has unofficially broken the T38 100m world record at the Paralympic Athletics World Champ Warm-Up event tonight at Sydney Olympic Park.

Crossing the line in a wind-assisted 10.94, the 22-year-old ran 0.02 of a second under the current world record of 10.96 that he set at his first Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

Tonight is the first time O’Hanlon has run under 11 seconds since he became the first cerebral palsy athlete to do so in 2008 on his way to Paralympic gold.

“It’s always nice to run under 11 seconds again. I was a little bit nervous, thinking can I do it again, am I past my use by date?” he joked.

“But it’s always nice to get out there and run that time, even if it was with a bit of help from the wind.”

O’Hanlon and his AIS based training squad have spent the past week in Christchurch, familiarising themselves with what they have described as a tough track at QEII Stadium.

“Definitely getting over there prior to the event and getting on the track I’m going to race on has been nice. It’s a really hard track so it’s nice for me to get a bit of rhythm on it,” said O’Hanlon.

In the field, Jessica Gallagher showed she has what it takes to win in Christchurch, tonight setting a new personal best in the javelin.

Gallagher, who threw a javelin for the first time in May last year, threw 36.86m, bettering her PB by 1.6m.

The 24-year-old has recently returned to athletics after competing at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games, where she won a bronze medal in the vision impaired slalom. She became the first Australian female athlete to win a medal at the Winter Paralympic Games.

“It’s very pleasing, we were tinkering with a few things in the lead up, trying out a few different run ups so it was good to get a hit out tonight and to see where I’m at,” said Gallagher.

“Javelin is a brand new event for me and its pretty demanding on the body. I still have a lot of things to work on but everything is heading in the right direction for Christchurch.

In other events, sprinters and training partners Kelly Cartwright and Michelle Errichiello both posted encouraging times in the 100m, Cartwright particularly pleased with her 15.97, after overcoming a knee injury late last year.

Cartwright’s time was also under World Record pace, but like O’Hanlon’s, will not count officially due to the kind tailwind that lashed Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre.

“I’m very happy with that time, I’ve had a tough last year and just to see where I’m at is great. And to come such a long way in such a short time is great, because just a few months ago I was in hospital so I’m very happy,” she said.

Veteran shot putter Hamish MacDonald showed he is also in form, throwing 10.92m to finish first in his event.

Having narrowly edged out compatriot Damien Bowen to win bronze at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, MacDonald is pleased with his World Championships preparation.

“I haven’t been throwing that well for a number of years so all the preparation is coming together at the right time for an old bloke like me,” said MacDonald.

Australia is sending a team of 46 athletes to Christchurch, with nearly half making their international debut. The IPC Athletics World Championships will run from January 21-30 in Christchurch, New Zealand.