Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Hahn thrives when the heat is on – in every sense of the phrase.
Hahn, 22, is a championship performer and is out for a second successive T38 100m and 200m double at this week’s World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
The sultry climate in the UAE is perfect for Hahn, who has cerebral palsy, as it relaxes her muscles and the Leicester-born star can’t wait to sweat it out in search of global gold.
“The hotter it is, the better I perform!” said the Loughborough-born star.
“Lots of athletes complain about the heat, I just can't wait to get some sun on me.
"I was in Dubai earlier this year. The temperature was really nice and pleasant and Doha held the World Championships in 2015, where I won two golds.
“It's going to be pretty similar conditions. It would be amazing if I could defend my title, I'm just going to give it everything I've got.”
Changing a winning formula is the preserve only of athletes with total security in their process. That’s the case for Hahn, now coached by two-time Commonwealth Games champion Leon Baptiste.
She made the change in January and within five months of joining a new training group she’d broken her own 100m world record, clocking 12.43 with a tailwind at the Loughborough International.
Hahn has already competed in Dubai this year at the Fazza Championships – a difficult race that saw her run 13.52 into a fierce headwind – but an invaluable acclimatisation period.
Hot on her heels is Leeds-born Kadeena Cox, a fearsome competitor in her classification who finished with 100m silver and 200m bronze behind Hahn at 2017’s World Championships in London.
The East Midlands ace is well aware of the threat Cox poses to retaining her title but welcomed the healthy competition within the British team.
“Leon and I have struck up a great relationship and I'm really excited to see what we can do at the World Championships,” she said.
"I think it's fantastic to have team-mates who are doing well in my classification. Ali Smith, Kadeena Cox, Olivia Breen, it's a fantastic trio and it would be amazing to see British athletics on the podium.
“It's going to be a fight, I can't wait.
"It's good to have people pushing you and keeping you working hard. For me, they're getting close to me and I'm prepared to work even harder to keep that gap there.”
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