Hannah goes for gold tonight

Children from Holy Trinity Primary School filming gold winning para-olympian Hannah Cockroft at Spring Hall Athletics Club, Halifax
Children from Holy Trinity Primary School filming gold winning para-olympian Hannah Cockroft at Spring Hall Athletics Club, Halifax
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Calderdale’s Hannah Cockroft will hope to bring home Calderdale’s first medal of the games when she races in the Olympic Stadium tonight.

The twenty-year-old wheelchair ace will be in lane 7 when she goes in the T34 100m heats at 12.30pm this afternoon, before, hopefully, competing in the final at 8pm.

Hannah is the red hot favourite with the bookmakers to win gold both tonight, and next Thursday when she races in the T34 200m.

And she’ll be cheered on in the Stadium by her family in her first ever Paralympic Games.

Her mum, Rachel, carried the Paralympic flame through Harrow earlier this week and was in the stadium for the opening ceremony - which Hannah watched from the Olympic Village as she prepared for her events.

And Rachel admitted she was feeling a few nerves ahead of the day when the national media spotlight will fall on her daughter.

“I’m nervous for her,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure and expectation on her.

“We were in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony and it was absolutely phenominal - the atmosphere was brilliant, but she’s never raced on an occasion like this.

“I’ve not seen Hannah since she came down to London. But we’ve exchanged a few messages, but we might see her in the days between her two events,” she said.

“If she can focus on what she’s there to do then she’s got a very good chance. She has the Team GB psychiatrist to help her get into the right frame of mind and we’ll be cheering her on too,” she said.

** Mum Rachel said she hopes to wave the white rose flag which is normally flown above Halifax Town Hall as she cheers on her daughter.

She said: “We’re proud to be Yorkshire, and wanted to show it.”

So last week before she and Hannah left for the Games, Rachel went down to the Piece Hall to pick up the flag from the council.

Council leader Coun Tim Swift said: “We’re so proud of Hannah. It was a privilege for us to lend Rachel and Hannah the flag and we’re looking forward to seeing her compete tomorrow, hopefully bringing back a medal and seeing her mum proudly waving the white rose flag.”