Tanni Grey-Thompson tips Hannah Cockroft to extend medal haul

Hannah Cockroft.
Hannah Cockroft.
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With five Paralympic gold medals, many would say Hannah Cockroft simply can’t get any better – but not Tanni Grey-Thompson, who insists even more is to come from the wheelchair racer.

Having won double gold on home soil at London 2012, Cockroft went one better four years later in Rio with three appearances on the top of the podium.

Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Tanni Grey-Thompson.

But despite the ten world titles and two European triumphs, the 25-year-old shows no sign of slowing down with her sights already set on more success at Tokyo 2020.

Grey-Thompson, herself a winner of 11 Paralympic titles, represented Great Britain at five Games, and sees no reason why Cockroft won’t continue to dominate for years to come.

“She needs to keep doing what she’s doing,” said Grey-Thompson.

“She’s been through a cycle and a half on the Paralympic programme, so she knows what works for her and now.

“It’s about getting the coaching right, getting the work-life balance, and being aware of who else is in the world and just keep moving on.

“As an athlete, you need to get better every year – it sounds really simple, but the building blocks behind that aren’t always so simple, it’s about keeping moving on.”

Grey-Thompson was speaking at a forum for Not a Red Card, a campaign by financial services company Legal & General aimed at using sport as a means of tackling the stigma surrounding mental health.

With the likes of hockey player Helen Richardson-Walsh, swimmer Michael Jamieson and cricketer Marcus Trescothick all speaking about their mental health, never has the psychological wellbeing of elite athletes been more in the limelight.

But it’s something Grey-Thompson insists can only be a good thing.

“Everyone from the outside thinks [athletes have] got the really privileged life, and to an extent you have, you have something that hundreds of thousands of people will never get to do,” she said. “But behind the glamour, there’s a really difficult part to it.

“You get more access to mental health help than the average person because of the people around the team who will help you. “It’s highlighting that if athletes are struggling, then lots of other people are too.

“It’s about normalising mental health. There’s so many people facing issues that still they don’t feel able to discuss,but having sportspeople talking about it makes it easier.”

Find out more at www.legalandgeneral.com/notaredcard or by searching #notaredcard online.