By Russell Bennett
Cranbourne North teen sensation Keenan O’Hanlon is small in stature, but he has the heart of a lion and the kind of sheer athletic talent that most people could only dream of.
And Keenan has an insatiable desire to continue to better himself, which is taking him ahead in leaps and bounds in the athletics world.
Due to his performances throughout the 2017/18 Australian domestic season, and his astonishing history of medals in the long jump and triple jump, Keenan was recently selected in the 2018 Athletics Victoria Target Talent Program’s (AVTTP) horizontal jumps squad.
The Target Talent Program is the early talent identification program into Athletics Australia’s high performance pathway, and has been designed to support elite junior athletes, their coaches and supporters make the transition to national senior representation.
In the past three years in a row, Keenan has won both the Little Athletics Victoria long jump and triple jump state titles in the under 13s, under 14s, and under 15s.
His triple jump personal best is now 13.39 metres, while in long jump it’s 6.56 metres.
What makes this all the more staggering is that at 5’5”, or 165 centimetres, Keenan estimates he’s the shortest in his Year 10 class by about five inches.
The 15-year-old goes to Alkira Secondary College, where he’s received invaluable support throughout his athletic endeavours.
Mark Jouvelet from Cranbourne Little Athletics has also been an invaluable source of support in his time coaching Keenan.
His current coach, Chloe Edwards from the Frankston Athletic Club, has also picked up where he left off.
Keenan admits that he sometimes wonders what he could achieve if he was that little bit taller, but he’s still got plenty of time for his body to continue to mature.
In the meantime, his astonishing performances speak for themselves.
His list of athletics medals – many of which are gold – from over the years is simply too long to mention.
Next, he wants to continue to try his hand at high jump – which he enjoys “just for fun”, despite the face he can already leap well above his height.
He’s also dipping his toe in the water of sprinting, where he made a state 100-metre final and finished fourth.
But arguably Keenan’s strongest trait is his ability to find his best effort from deep within, right when he needs it most.
More than anything, that’s what ensures he’s a star on the rise.