STAR wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft has admitted she feels the pressure is off after scooping gold in the Women’s T34 100m Final on Saturday night in Rio.
Cockroft, who currently studies media and journalism at Coventry University, successfully defended her Olympic title ahead of city resident Kare Adenegan – who only took up the sport following the London games four years ago.
The 24-year-old, who will also compete in the T34 400m and 800m events, won her latest gold medal in a Paralympic record time of 17.42 seconds.
Cockroft’s victory was made even more emotional after her parents were told she would never be able to walk, talk or live beyond her teenage years.
The Halifax local suffered two cardiac arrests at birth, meaning she was left with a disability that affected her balance and mobility.
However Cockroft’s latest gold is part and parcel of her remarkable story, and she was delighted to scoop gold for her second games on the spin.
She said: “The 100m is my favourite event – I have never been beaten over it and didn’t expect to be beaten over it.
“It was amazing to come here and compete in front of this massive crowd, it’s a magnificent stadium and I absolutely loved it out there.
“In my head winning one title was immense, it was fantastic in London, but you are a truly talented athlete if you can defend it.
“Now I feel the pressure is off.”
Cockroft was closely followed by Coventry racer Kare Adenegan, who secured her first Olympic medal at the tender age of just 15.
The silver medalist, who attends Bablake School, took up wheelchair racing in 2012 after being inspired by the London games four years ago.
After joining a wheelchair academy in the city, Adenegan stunned the athletics world when defeating Cockroft at the Grand Prix Final in London last year.
Despite not being able to repeat that achievement in Rio, Adenegan said she personally felt like she had won following a tough year.
She said: “I am so happy – when I crossed the line it was like I had won because it’s been a really tough year.
“I’m so blessed and grateful I can share the podium with Hannah.
“I completely smashed my personal best so it’s an amazing day.”
Elsewhere hopes of Sam Ingram achieving a third Paralympic medal in three games were dashed when the 31-year-old lost to USA’s Dartanyon Crockett in the bronze medal match.