Young Olympian grabs two gold medals less than a year after car accident
After a car accident last year that caused a young Palauan Olympian a major injury on his thigh, he never thought that he would be back in the pool again soon to swim competitively – much more compete in one of the most anticipated sports events in the Micronesian region this year. Yet, with sheer determination and strong will, he more than made it to the games and even brought back two gold medals to his countrymen’s applaud.
Noel Keane, who spoke before the press during a media conference on Wednesday, August 1 at the Office of the President’s Satellite Office, admitted that he himself did not thought that he would be able to compete in the Micronesian Games 2018 that was held in Yap just last July 15 to 27.
Keane shared that he believed that he still had time to train, while recovering from injuries he incurred in the car accident.
“I still have time to train. I can do my best so I went back to therapy everyday just thinking to push myself and do my best,” Keane said, adding that he was excited upon knowing that he could go to the Games.
“I was happy for myself. I was proud. When I got the medal, I was like, ‘I did it. My job was not finish yet. I still have long ways to go. My goals for the Olympics – qualify, do my best’”, Keane said.
Keane said that he had a good race with Northern Mariana Islands’ Akimaru Kento, whom he had competed with head to head.
“Me and the CNMI dude (Akimaru Kento), we reconnect[ed] together, we raced well. I was part of him, he was part of me, and we did our best,” Keane said.
Keane and CNMI’s Kento had been racing head to head in the open water swim events during the Micronesian Games, only missing each other by a few seconds.
In the 5KM-Men event, Keane dominated the race by setting the record of 1:14:29.2, making him won the gold medal over silver medalist Kento, who came behind him at 1:14:41.7.
Kento, however, picked up in the 2.5KM event, winning over the gold medal at 35:45.1 record, tailed by Keane at 35:45.4.
But Keane snitched the gold medal again together with his teammates, Osisang Chilton, Roylin Akiwo, and Jericho Maido, in the 5KM Mixed Open Water Relay.
In November last year, Keane had been hospitalized after a car he rode in crashed into a metal road railing along the Compact Road. His leg was reportedly pinned under the metal rail which took responders almost two hours to get him out of the crash site. He was then referred to Taiwan, particularly at the Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, to undergo surgical care. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)