“It’s definitely the golds I’m on my way for” - Halifax Paralympian Hannah Cockroft eyeing more medals in Tokyo
Halifax’s golden girl Hannah Cockroft is setting her sights on adding to her career medal haul at this summer’s Paralympic Games.
Cockroft, 28, was this week officially selected in ParalympicsGB’s athletics team set to descend on Japan where she will bid to add to her bulging haul of five Games, 11 world and three European Championship titles.
She broke a thrilling four world records at last year’s British Wheelchair Athletic Association Grand Prix but Cockroft – whose T34 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m times do not officially stand as the event wasn’t sanctioned by World Para-Athletics – says going even quicker is not her Japanese goal.
Cockroft, one of over 1,000 athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, said: “Far and above anything else, I’m hoping for two gold medals in the 100m and 800m.
“If fast times come with them and a couple of world records, that would be nice, but everyone remembers medals – no one remembers times.
“It’s definitely the golds I’m on my way for.
“It gives me massive confidence just to know that my training is working and that the work I did over lockdown was worthwhile and actually had an effect.
“Even after all that time away from the track, I can still come out and perform. I think a massive part of it is just enjoyment.
“That time away from it made everyone miss what we do and so we have come back, and everyone’s just enjoying what we do as a job. I think that’s made the biggest difference for me.”
Cockroft’s storied para-athletics career has been fuelled by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme that allows her to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
Two golds in London and then three more in Rio cemented her status as a ParalympicsGB immortal and the Yorkshire ace is showing no signs of stopping as she heads to a third Games this summer.
Cockroft was forced to think outside the box during lockdown as her and her boyfriend, Nathan Maguire – also a para-athlete – built a gym in their garage.
Those innovative training methods helped her set the Stoke Mandeville track alight at last September’s Grand Prix and Cockroft, whose Paralympic crowns are five of the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997, added: “Obviously there were no tracks and no gyms [in lockdown] – which are the two places that I do most of my training!
“We built a gym in the garage and a roller room in our front bedroom so that we could still do our chair workouts.
“We just made the best of what we had really and tried to keep going as best as we could. It required a lot of creativity and a lot of patience, but obviously, it has all paid off.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo