Adenegan hoping to pip hero Cockroft to Commonwealth gold

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Women's 800m - T34 Final - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 4, 2021. Hannah Cockroft of Britain celebrates after winning gold and Kare Adenegan of Britain celebrates after winning silver REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Kare Adenegan and Hannah Cockroft both compete in the T34 classification

By James Reid

TRACK sensation Kare Adenegan is hoping to complete her medal collection at this summer’s Commonwealth Games but knows she must beat out her inspiration Hannah Cockroft to clinch gold.

The 21-year-old wheelchair racer was first inspired to take to the track after watching Cockroft at the London 2012 Paralympics, where she won two gold medals.

And now Adenegan is going head-to-head for medals with her fellow Brit, something she still can’t believe.

“That’s the reason why I’m here,” said Adenegan, who is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

“I watched her [Cockroft] at London 2012 and I was so inspired by what I saw.

“To think I’ll be racing with her, and others that I’ve seen come up the ranks, it’s really great.

“I pinch myself at the fact I’m actually here now.

“She’s doing amazingly well, she’s had an amazing career so far, and it really inspires me the fact that she’s always raising the bar.

“It also means I really want to go out there and give it my best shot and hopefully we’ll both come out with a really good result.

“I’m always focusing on being my best but it does help having her there and aiming to close the gap.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, and having secured her place on the squad, Adenegan is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in her home country.

Despite her young age, Adenegan has already had a stellar career, boasting five Paralympic and five World Championship medals, and now she is hoping to complete her collection with a Commonwealth gong.

Gold is the aim for Adenegan, who competes in the T34 category, but she knows it will be a tough ask to dethrone Cockroft who holds the world record over 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m.

“I’m really excited about it [the T34 races],” she said.

“I hope people are excited about the T34 races, that’s always great. A bit of competition is always a good thing and I hope that it’s one of the races that people really want to watch.

“I wasn’t actually thinking too much about that but one of the other athletes reminded me that the Commonwealth medal is the only major medal I don’t have yet so now thinking about that it would be great to add to the collection.

“It’s more about where I place and getting on the podium, that’s the most important thing. Getting in the medals and representing my country well.

“In terms of times, we’ll have to see because the track is a tartan track so that affects us as wheelchair racers – so it may not be the fastest track for us but it’s more important to have a solid race.”

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