INSPIRATIONAL WEDNESDAY: Hannah Cockroft, wheelchair racer

Hannah Cockroft has won five Paralympic, 10 world and two European titles since making her international debut in 2011, while still in her mid-twenties. She added to her collection by winning gold in the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 at London 2017.  She successfully retained her women’s 100 metres T34 Paralympic title after winning gold at the Tokyo Paralympics with a new world record timing of 16.39 seconds. It was also her third consecutive Paralympic gold medal in women’s 100 metres event and her sixth Paralympic gold medal. 

Born in 1992, she took up Para athletics in 2007 aged 15 at a Loughborough University talent day where she tried wheelchair racing for the first time.

In 2010, she broke nine world records and a year later won her first world titles in New Zealand with Championship records over 100m (18.98) and 200m (33.72).

‘Hurricane Hannah’ continued her record breaking in 2012. In the 100m heats at London 2012, she lowered the Paralympic record with a time of 18.24, before clocking 18.06 in the final. The 200 m was a similar story – she broke the Paralympic record in the heats (33.20) before demolishing the opposition in the final with a time of 31.09.

In the 2013 New Year’s Honours, Cockroft was awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for her achievements.

Later the same year she defended her 100m and 200m world titles at the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France, setting new championship records in both distances.

She started the 2014 season in blistering form setting a new world record in the 100m (17.91) at the Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland before following up with European titles in the 100m and 800m T34 in Swansea, Great Britain.

In June 2015 Cockroft broke her 200m world record (30.51) but a few weeks later she suffered her first defeat in 300 races. She was soon back to winning ways however, picking up three further world titles in championship record time in Doha, Qatar. She was victorious over 100m (17.73), 400m (1:02.66) and 800m (2:07.10).

Cockroft broke the 800m T34 world record (1:56.89) just weeks before heading to Rio 2016 where she took on the 100m (17.42), 400m (58.78) and 800m (2:00.62) T34. She won all three, breaking her own 400m world record in the process.

More world records followed in 2017. Over ten days of competition in May and early June, Cockroft broke no fewer than five world marks, including the 1,500m T34 – a distance she rarely races.

Heading to London 2017 as the favourite for triple gold, Cockroft didn’t disappoint, dominating all three of her events – the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 – and knocking 0.10 seconds off her previous 100m world record with a time of 17.18.


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