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UK Athletics

THE hurricane looking to take world by storm 

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Hannah Cockroft
22 April 2015 

Two Paralympic titles, four world titles, two European titles, countless world records and an unblemished record on the track, there isn’t much Hannah Cockroft hasn’t achieved on the track as a 22 year old.

Cockroft, widely known as ‘The Hurricane’ for her blistering speed is now building up for the defence of her T34 100m crown in Doha in October, but is preparing for a completely different challenge this time around. The Coventry University student will also chase her first world title over 800m and after opening her season at the IPC Grand Prix in Doha, she is well aware of the competition that she will face and have a wanted tag on her in six months time.

“The competition has improved a lot. Seeing what the girls are doing now from racing just once in Dubai they have already stepped up, particularly in the 800m, which is quite scary,” said Cockroft.  

“It’s a big challenge and I always knew it would be and I know it’s going to be a fight to win it. I know I have the ability to win it, but so do the other girls as well. I think my main competition is still going to be Rosemary Little (Australian Paralympic bronze medallist) unless someone creeps out of the woodwork.”

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson remains one of the most successful Paralympians of all time, and despite her best efforts, Cockroft believes her haul of 11 Paralympic gold medals might just be out of reach.

“I’d love to say yes (to match Tanni’s record), but that’s going to be near impossible. With only two events, it’s going to take me 16 years or so, which means I’m going to have to keep winning for that time.

“I’d love to be the next Tanni and do what she did for the sport, so I’ll do as much as I can and go to as many Paralympic Games as I can. Maybe instead I’ll have to shadow how many medals she won at the World Championships.” 

You can never doubt Cockroft’s desire to continue her medal-winning feats and while she is gearing up for more medals on the world stage, the Maracanã and Copacabana are firmly in her sights for next Paralympic Games in Rio. 

“The motivation is still there – I want to win in Rio and want to become a triple world champion this year so there’s everything on offer, and everything to play for. I know I am in the best shape I ever have been, so I think I can do well this year, but you can’t be too confident.

“Rio is always in the back of your mind. The World Championships are important, especially if you win gold there, you go to Rio. But at the end of the day, everybody wants to be Paralympic champion. Everything I’m doing now is gearing up to be the strongest I can be for Rio and Doha and  is a stepping stone to that. Hopefully I can win lots of medals!” 

After experiencing the fluctuating weather conditions in the Middle East last month, Halifax-born athlete believes that the experience will stand her in good stet for when she lines up on the startline later this year.

“I think Dubai will be an invaluable experience for when we get to Doha. We were racing in sandstorms and high winds, which is possible to happen when we get there. We were lucky enough to do a site visit of the stadium, hotel and holding camp so that will be precious because we will know what to expect and you can plan ahead.”

Once a precocious talent, Cockroft is now the poster girl for Paralympic sport around the world, but believes that a certain 14 year old in her training group could well be the next emerging talent from the GB & NI ranks.

“Kare Adenegan is coming along really strong and she has such a powerful stroke, it’s incredible. I think if she can work out her tactics in the 800m, she’s going to be a really strong contender. She’s definitely going to be up there in the 100m at the Worlds because she’s a strong sprinter so there are threats from all corners really.”

Follow Hannah on Twitter here or visit her website http://www.hannahcockroft.co.uk/