Evan eyes more Paralympic gold

Evan eyes more Paralympic gold

Kristyn Comino

Evan O'Hanlon

UC student and triple gold-medallist Evan O'Hanlon will race in his second Paralympics. Photo courtesy of the Australian Paralympic Committee

13 August 2012: Evan O’Hanlon OAM won three Paralympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008, is a world-record holder, and has just become Australia’s fastest-ever Paralympian. This might explain why the University of Canberra student is confident in his quest for more gold at the London Paralympic Games.

“I’m older and more experienced than I was at the last Games and I’m a lot further ahead of the rest of my field, so as long as I perform at my best no one can beat me,” O’Hanlon said.

"I just broke the official 100m world record earlier this year, I ran 10.88 seconds. My name will always be next to the world record and it can never be taken away from me, so now I’m just trying to better myself.”

O’Hanlon has also just become Australia’s fastest-ever Paralympian, having run 10.83 seconds in the 100m for an unofficial world record (due to no drug testing on site).

At the last Paralympics in Beijing, O’Hanlon took home gold in the T38 category of the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, saying he was hoping to get on the podium.

“That’s what I was aiming for, I definitely thought in the 100m and 200m I was going to medal. One of us was going to perform on the day and fortunately it was me.”

O’Hanlon said he is looking forward to returning to the Paralympics to compete in the same events as a more prepared athlete.

“I’m still excited about it but last time I didn’t know what to expect so it was different. I didn’t know what the atmosphere and the competition was going to be like. This time I know how I react in those situations and I’m ready for it.”

O’Hanlon has cerebral palsy and reflected on his experiences at the last Paralympics with pride for his fellow athletes.

“It opens your eyes and puts things in perspective, especially with me being one of the less-disabled people, it was good to see other people being confident in their disability. It makes you more positive in yourself and changes your mindset.”

The landscape architecture student said that thanks to the University’s support he was able to take a year off studying to focus on the Paralympics.

“The University is very supportive - I don’t think I could do it anywhere else. My lecturers understand what it is I’m doing, one of them actually left me a message saying good luck for the Games.”

In 2009, O’Hanlon received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to sport as a gold medalist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He said after the London Games he has a goal to go to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio before working in his family business as a landscape architect after he finishes his degree.

“My mum is a landscape architect, my dad’s an architect and sister’s an architect so it runs in the family. Landscape architecture is a good choice because I know I’ll always get a job.”

O’Hanlon moved to Canberra from Sydney in 2007. The 24-year-old said he started running in primary school, competing alongside able-bodied athletes at state and regional level, before a high school teacher found out he had cerebral palsy and linked him with his current coach at the Australian Institute of Sport, Iryna Dvoskina. Dvoskina also trains fellow University Paralympic sprinters Scott Reardon, Brad Scott and Michael Roeger.

Since he started sprinting professionally, O’Hanlon said he has grown more confident in his abilities and isn’t letting anyone stop him at this year’s Games, especially after having just unofficially beaten his own world record in both 100m the 200m.

“I’m very confident, I want to achieve my best. I just unofficially broke the world record in the 200m by running 21.87 seconds and running 10.83 seconds in the 100m. If it doesn’t become recognised it’s okay, because I’ll beat them again.”

The London Paralympic Games begin on 29 August 2012.

Read more about UC Olympic Games and Paralympic Games representatives:

Reardon races to Paralympic debut

Sally set for second Olympic swim

Powell pedals to Paralympics

Angie's second Olympic adventure

Peacock flies into Olympic Games debut

Michael prepares for Paralympic performance

Scott sprints to second Paralympics

Rocket Roberts launches to London