Hannah Cockroft digs deep to thwart ‘greatest rival’ to win world title No 11
Yorkshire’s paralympic heroine Hannah Cockroft hailed the 11th world title of her career as her best yet after storming to victory in Dubai.
The 27-year-old five-time Paralympic gold medallist won the T34 100m at the IPC World Championships for the fifth time in a row but revealed afterwards that the challenge her closest rival had put her through in recent months meant this one was the sweetest.
All eyes pre-race were on world record holder and European champion Kare Adenegan of Coventry in lane four but it was Cockroft out in lane seven who matched Adenegan’s explosive start before powering away over the final 50 metres.
The Halifax athlete shaved 0.03s off the previous world record in a time of 16.77s (+1.4) with Adenegan second and America’s Alexa Halko claiming bronze in 18.83.
Cockroft, who has been working on improving her starts, said: “I think No 11 is probably the best yet.
“It was definitely the hardest to win.
“They mean more and more. Kare is the biggest rival I’ve ever had; she’s a fantastic athlete.
“It’s great that I’ve come out on top here, but you know that can switch around at any time.
“You’ve got to take the gold when you can and keep working hard.
“I really wanted to come and win the gold. I would have been happy with silver because I know Kare has been working hard and is strong and was the world record holder.
“I haven’t dipped below 17 seconds ever in my career, not even in training, so I have no idea where that came from, but I’m so pleased it did on race day.
“I just about managed to hold back the tears when I crossed the finish line, so it is going to be an emotional moment on the podium.”
Cockroft returns for the 800m final on Thursday, starting at 05:58 (UK time).
Already the Paralympic champion over the longer discipline, Cockroft was also the gold medallist at the IPC World Championships in London two years ago.
“The 800m will be a lot different to the 100m. It’ll be a bit of a game,” she said.
“I’m feeling really strong; I’ve done a lot of work on my 800m. I just need to get out of my blocks the best I can and see how the rest of the race pans out and hopefully I win world gold No 12.”
Britain’s Olivia Breen won a bronze medal in the T38 long jump at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Dubai.
A best jump of 4.93metres earned the 23-year-old from Wales a place on the podium as she could not repeat her title win of two years ago in London. The gold medal was won by Hungary’s Luca Ekler.