Wheelchair racing star says she “nearly cried” when her event was announced as part of the Birmingham 2022 programme
Hannah Cockroft admits that she was almost in tears at the “amazing news” that she will have the chance to compete at a Commonwealth Games.
The 28-year-old has five Paralympic wheelchair racing gold medals to her name as well as 12 world titles but so far in her career her T34 classification has not been included in the Commonwealth Games programme.
On Wednesday, however, it was announced that the Birmingham 2022 schedule will feature a women’s T33/34 100m, giving Cockroft the chance to go for gold on home soil.
“When I heard that there was going to be an event that I can target at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games I honestly nearly cried,” says Cockroft, who claimed double gold at the home Paralympics in London in 2012 and then a world championships treble in the UK capital in 2017.
“This is such amazing news as I didn’t think I was going to get this opportunity in my career and it has been the medal missing from my collection for all of these years.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to be involved in since I started racing. My boyfriend (fellow wheelchair racer Nathan Maguire) has been to a Commonwealths and I’ve watched half the team go to Commonwealth Games and never had the chance to join them so, honestly, I can’t explain how excited I am.
“Hopefully I will be adding a Commonwealth title to a retained Paralympic title! If I get there, if I get selected, the Commonwealth Games is going to take massive priority for me, I have always wanted to do that. It is going to take a lot of planning to make sure I can peak for all the major events that we have that year.”
The 2022 Games will feature the biggest ever integrated para sport programme and, on the impact of having para events included, Cockroft adds: “For para sport, number one to get the coverage is going to be absolutely monumental for us the year after a Paralympic Games.
“Things do tend to fall off a little after a Paralympics so this opportunity is massive for us.
“It’s an integrated championships, it is the only one of its kind, which means that we can teach more people about our sport, we can show more people our sport, and hopefully grow a bigger fan base.
“So it’s a massive, massive opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what we can do with it.”
Click here to read more about the Birmingham 2022 medal event programme.
AW subscribers can click here to access the AW Clubhouse and read more from Hannah Cockroft on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the motivation it gives her.