Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the new WR holder, Hannah Cockroft, now in her second Olympics.
Hannah Cockroft breaking a world record again!
Hannah Cockcoft won the 100m wheelchair race in the T34 class at the Tokyo Paralympics in a time of 16.39.
She commented: “I am relieved, excited, I’ve already cried and I’m not a crier, I can’t believe it. There has been so much pressure and insecurity around this whole Games; it was on, it was off, it was back on. Family can come, they can’t come. To finally be here, get out there and put that time down is amazing. I did not think that time was something I was capable of. I’ve been to the last two Games and won five golds, so anything less than gold wouldn’t be enough, I wouldn’t be satisfied. I’m 29 now so I haven’t got many of these left”.
There are always two championship races in the T34 class but not necessarily the same ones. Cockcroft has won gold medals at Paralympics and World Championships at 100, 200, 400, and 800. With the two events in Tokyo the 100 and 800, perversely Hannah told me her preference would have been 200 and 400!
Training for 100 and 800 is a challenge: “It is hard and I just have to trust my coach that he knows how to plan my training so that I will get the right preparation for both distances. But it is difficult and sometimes in training, I feel I’m leaning towards the 100 and working on that. That makes me panic about the 800. Sometimes it’s the other way and I am worrying that my 100 will not be very good. It’s been especially hard during lockdown because obviously, a 100m sprint is easier to do – you only need a 100 metre stretch of road, whereas finding an 800m straight road is more difficult. It is something I worry about a lot but I just have to put my faith in the training programme and thankfully it works. One thing I do try to remember is that every race has a sprint in it so even in an 800, my ability to do a 100-metre sprint will come in useful. I need to have a strong 100 and anything else is just extra training”.
Talking of lockdown she struggled when her track was closed. Someone told her that other athletes climbed the fence and used the track unofficially. She replied that she would put her wheelchair on her back and climb the fence then!!