Cockroft urges rivals to pick up the pace

Hannah Cockroft winning at the Olympic Stadium in London. She is targeting three world titles in 2015. (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).
Hannah Cockroft winning at the Olympic Stadium in London. She is targeting three world titles in 2015. (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire).

FOR an athlete accustomed to winning nearly every race she enters, you would think risk and worry would not be two words much used in Hannah Cockcroft’s vocabulary.

But with the chance to go for an unprecedented hat-trick of gold medals at this year’s IPC Athletics World Championships, the 22-year-old admits the pressure is on.

Arguably one of the most dominant athletes in wheelchair racing, Cockcroft has scooped up no fewer than eight senior major international titles.

All but two of them have come in the T34 100m and 200m, with double titles coming at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships either side of her unforgettable pair of gold medals at London 2012.

She completed the full set of medals last year when she took European titles in Swansea – in the 100m but also the 800m.

And it is in the latter in which the Halifax racer predicts her toughest challenge will arise when she takes to the track in Doha for the World Championships in October.

“For the first time this year I actually get to go for triple world champion. I actually have three events,” she said.

“So in the 100m and 200m, I’m feeling fairly confident but the 800 is a massive risk for me. The 800 is not about sheer power or strength. This is about who can think the quickest, who can sit in the right place on the track and who can basically is the cleverest racer.

“My aim is to break a world record because breaking a world record for me is a personal best.

“In the eight, my target this year is to go two minutes. My world record currently is 2:02, but I need the other girls up to speed then we can go faster.”

Hannah Cockroft is a BT Ambassador. BT is a long-term supporter of disabled sport.