International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Paralympic Hopefuls Set for Australian Championships

Australia’s Paralympic hopefuls are set to star at the 90th Australian Athletics Championships at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne beginning on Friday (13 April), which will be a key part of the nomination process for the London 2012 Paralympics.

Set to join their able-bodied counterparts for three days of competition, Kelly Cartwright, Evan O’Hanlon, Jessica Gallagher and Brad Scott will headline the field.

Cartwright, who lost her leg to cancer at 15, is the reigning world champion in the 100m T42 and Long Jump F42, and this season she has already improved the 200m world record in her class to 35.98.

O’Hanlon won two golds at the Bejijng 2008 Paralympics and two more at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, and he has started off 2012 on a high, already breaking the 100m world record in the T38 class with a time of 10.91.

Gallagher is the only athlete currently competing for Australia in both a winter and summer sport and will compete in the javelin against other visually impaired athletes. Scott, meanwhile, is the training partner of O’Hanlon and has already ran a world-record time in the 1,500m earlier this year.

Angela Ballard, Madison de Rozario, Richard Colman and Richard Nicholson will be the ones to beat in wheelchair racing.

Ballard takes to the start line in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m on the back of a blistering training block under the guidance of Louise Sauvage, while de Rozario finished fourth in an exhibition 800m at the IAAF World Championships. Both recorded top-six finishes at the IPC Athletics World Championships last year.

Nicholson, who originally competed at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics as a powerlifter, is seeking nomination to his fifth Australian team in London.

“The team for London is taking shape as best as we can hope so far, and with solid performances at the Nationals I am confident that we can expand further on the number of spots offered to track and field on the Paralympic team,” said Andrew Faichney, Athletics Australia Paralympic Preparation Programme Manager.

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