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high hopes for adenegan 

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Kare Adenegan
02 August 2016 

The British team for September’s Paralympic Games features 26 debutants, with 15 year old Kare Adenegan (coach: Job King) amongst the new faces set to head over to Brazil.

Adenegan’s interest and curiosity in disability athletics was spiked by the 2012 Paralympic Games in London; a competition which the Coventry based athlete cites as a huge influence on her setting out down her own racing path.

“London 2012 was a huge influence for me; to see how many people with disabilities were competing was amazing – the range of sports alone was something that surprised me.

“As a big fan of athletics already, to see people with disabilities competing within athletics specifically was incredible and something I’d never really seen before. On the back of that I just wanted to discover exactly what the sport (disability athletics) was and how I could get involved.”

Born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition which affects muscle control and movement, Adenegan is particularly affected by a lack of mobility in the lower half of her body – an obstacle she has overcome in astounding fashion in the four years since London 2012.

Adenegan, who lines up in the T34 class alongside multiple global gold medallist Hannah Cockroft (Jennifer Banks), made her senior international debut last year at the world championships in Doha, showcasing her talent and potential to come with bronze medals over both the 400m and 800m.

Casting her mind back to the experience of Doha, Adenegan reflected: “Heading out there I was hoping I could do well enough to make the podium – I knew if I had a technically good race and stayed relaxed that I could potentially medal.

“At the same time I knew it was equally as important to use it as a learning experience as well as an introduction to the world stage; obviously it was my senior debut, so that alone was something that was very big for me. Everything I did out there has helped me to learn - so everything I learnt can now be applied when I head out to Rio, which is great.”

The Coventry Godiva athlete has endured a challenging year between balancing school studies with training; she admits now that she can see the light at the end of the tunnel however: “It’s been a good year but it’s also been tough too - I’ve had my GCSE’s, so I’ve had a lot to do school-wise, plus there is training to think about too.”

“Performance-wise I’ve got to a point now where I feel really strong though, which is great. I know that I’ve still got a lot that I can do and I know that I can go faster too, I’m growing each and every session which does nothing but make me excited looking forward.”

Comparisons to Cockroft have been something of a regular occurrence throughout Adenegan’s breakthrough, with the 15 year old referring to the Paralympic and world champion as a huge influence on her own aspirations, stating: “She’s always been a big inspiration and always will be, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I didn’t see her at London 2012. She’s helped our class so much, if you look at the history of the T34 class it’s come along so much since London four years ago”.

Adenegan’s times over 100m, 400m and 800m have edged noticeably closer to Cockroft’s over the last 12 months – a lifetime best of 18.50 over 100m at the weekend saw her move up to second in the world rankings behind the Paralympic champion - with Adenegan herself bringing an end to Cockroft’s remarkable 300 race and seven year unbeaten run last September in Newham, a feat she is nothing but modest when speaking about.

“It gave me a little bit of confidence of course, but on that day I was happier with the PB in the 400m – the race itself was technically very good, so although I was happy with the win and the circumstance, I know I’ve got a long way to go.

“Obviously I always enjoy racing against Hannah, it’s always so much fun and it’s always an opportunity to learn from the experience too, generally I try not to focus too much on who I’m racing, it’s more about getting better, getting stronger, and hopefully making the podium at each event.”

Heading into the Paralympic Games Adenegan recognises that competing on the biggest of stages is something of an anomaly, with an approach of enjoying the experience coming through foremost – although there is a reserved optimism in regards to the chance of medalling for both herself and her team-mates.

“I think there are quite a few athletes who could really well; in our class hopefully Mel (Nicholls) and Hannah (Cockroft) and I should be able to do something quite amazing in the 800m – I’m really excited about that. Seeing how well Sophie Hahn is running too, I think she could really surprise a lot of people – every more than she already does!

“I’ll definitely be soaking it up as an experience; just learning about the sport itself and progressing more as an athlete will be a big part of it. Obviously it would be amazing to make the podium, but the T34 class is growing and it’s getting very competitive so I’m just going to focus on doing my best, enjoying it all, and hopefully I’ll be up there.”

Kare will compete in the T34 100m, 400m and 800m at the Paralympic Games.

The full ParalympicsGB team for Rio (7-18 September) can be found HERE.