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yspoty nomination an 'honour' for hahn 

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Sophie Hahn
03 December 2015


It’s been a whirlwind of a year for para sprinter Sophie Hahn. After breaking two world records and winning two gold medals and a silver at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, the 18 year old now finds herself on the shortlist for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Hahn joins nine athletes on the final list including European Junior high jump gold medallist Morgan Lake and is understandably delighted to have been recognised by the specialist panel.

“It’s absolutely amazing, I never expected to be nominated for the top 10. There are some incredible athletes in there and it’s an honour to be there alongside Morgan Lake, who has had another fantastic year. It’s great for British Athletics to have two athletes on the shortlist and I’m over the moon to be one of them.

“There are going to be some amazing people there. I remember walking in last year and the first person I met was Carl Froch (boxer) and my face lit up with excitement. I think Andy Murray and Jess Ennis-Hill would be the two people who I’d be star struck by the most. It would be amazing to meet those two and get a photo with them on the night.”

Whilst admitting that winning the award would be the icing on the cake for the teenager, Hahn believes there is a bigger picture in making sure the sport continues to see the depth of talent coming through the system.

“I think I’ve got a responsibility if I do win to inspire the next generation to continue the legacy we saw from London 2012. Like what Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jonnie Peacock did, it’s important to inspire and get the younger generation involved.”  

Heading into Doha in great form, much was expected of Hahn, who won a gold and a silver on her international debut in 2013. However, what was to follow was even beyond the wildest dreams of one of British Athletics’ brightest stars. Hahn, who has cerebral palsy, obliterated her T38 100m world record to storm to gold crossing the line in 12.60 – four tenths of a second better than her previous best.

“On the day of the 100m final everything came together like a jigsaw. The weather conditions were perfect and I’ve been working really hard on my starts and building power in the gym. This season has been phenomenal and I hope that it gets even better going into 2016.

“I’m still quite surprised myself. I knew it was a fast track from watching the Diamond League there. My start was excellent, but I never expected to go 12.6. However, I’m hoping to go even faster next year.”

Six days later, Hahn went on to claim silver in the 200m, before anchoring the 4x100m team of Olivia Breen (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley) and Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) to another world record and another gold medal.

“It’s an honour to represent your country, so to do that with my teammates was a real highlight. The team did phenomenally well and I am really proud to have been a part of it in Doha.

“We looked really good in training and despite being a new team, we all fitted in nicely and it was great to win another gold. It gives us great confidence going into another big 12 months ahead.”   

While Hahn will harbour hopes of ending 2015 with another trophy, she is hopeful that a fellow British athlete picks up the overall BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in Belfast later this month.

“I’d love Jess (Ennis-Hill) to win – she’s an amazing role model to all those mums and aspiring sportspeople out there. She’s achieved what many thought wasn’t possible this year and I will be crossing my fingers for her in the crowd.”

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year takes place on Sunday 20 December in Belfast. For more information, visit:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/sports-personality/