AFTER breaking seven world records in eight days during 2010, Hannah Cockroft probably thought she’d had her fair share of wheelchair racing success.
But in 2011 it has only got better, the voluntary Leeds City Council worker is now a two-time world champion and one of Britain’s brightest hopes for next year’s Paralympic Games.
Cockroft, 18, only began wheelchair racing as a 13-year-old after a simple have-a-go session at a university open day. Five years on she is the worldwide queen of the track, winning both the 100m and 200m races at the recent World Championships in New Zealand.
Realistically her success ‘Down Under’ is hardly a surprise, not when the Halifax-based ace smashed seven world records in just over a week. But even Cockroft admits she expected nothing like a double gold in New Zealand, admitting the past 12 months has been one non-stop high.
“What a year!” smiles Cockroft simply, asked about the last 12 month’s achievements.
“I don’t know what to say really but I broke seven records in eight days and it was all a bit mental.
“I had my last A-level exam, then I had my prom that night and then I went to Switzerland where I broke four world records there – the night after my school prom.
“Then I came back and the weekend after that I broke another three!
“Then it was all hard training up to New Zealand and I went there for the experience really. I ended up getting two gold medals – everything just worked out really well!”
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet and it’s all still a bit surreal.
"the road shows that Spider- Y host are a unique opportunity for the local area, its an amazing idea that promotes sport in a fun and inclusive way. This encouragement is continued in the work of the Leeds Spiders basketball team, a successful 2nd and 3rd division team. Their work as a charity is fantastic, giving every individual an opportunity that otherwise, they might not have!"
Hannah Cockroft 2011
"with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games fast approaching, everyone wants to be involved. In the past, in my experience, I have seen disabled youngsters being left out of the sporting world because of a lack or equipment or experience on others behalf. Now, with initiatives such as Spider Y, there is no excuse and people are getting involved and loving the experience! There is no excuse for anyone not to participate in sport and now this is being realised, more steps are being taken to include every level of ability." Hannah Cockroft April 2011
To follow Hannah on her quest for gold - @hcdream2012
2012 London Paralympics
T34 100m - Gold Medal and Paralympic Record GOLD
Golden delight for Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain
T34 200m - Gold Medal and Paralympic Record GOLD
Gold medallist Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain waves from the podium
2011 IPC World Athletics Championships, Christchurch
World Record Holder