WHEELCHAIR racer Kare Adenegan could not hide her delight after giving her idol and Great Britain’s biggest Paralympic star Hannah Cockroft a run for her money in the build-up to the World Championships later this year.
The 14-year-old Coventry starlet claimed a superb silver on Sunday in the T34 400m wheelchair race at London’s Olympic Stadium.
Competing alongside some of para-sport’s heavyweights including Jonnie Peacock and David Weir as part of National Paralympic Day, Adenegan clocked 1:05.68 minutes which was just off the pace of double Paralympic and four-time world champion Cockroft.
After watching her hero claim gold back in 2012, an emotional Adenegan could hardly believe she was on the same stage just three years later.
“It was an absolutely amazing experience to be out on that track, as I was just a spectator of London 2012,” said Adenegan.
“To get a silver medal is absolutely amazing. I think I started really well, the first 200m were good for me and I’m good at maintaining my speed, so I’m very pleased with that performance.
“It means a lot to me to see such a huge turnout of people here for National Paralympic Day and how they are so supportive of us.
“Obviously I’m still fairly new to the whole GB international scene. Our fans are so supportive and encouraging and it’s brilliant they are all backing Paralympic sport.
“It’s been good to share the track with some amazing legends here and now I’m working hard to improve on my times so hopefully I can get selected for the Worlds in Doha later this year.
“Then it would mean everything to me to get to Rio as it’s the next Paralympics after London 2012. That’s been the huge aim of my career so far and I never thought I’d get to this stage so quickly.”
Cockroft remains the woman to beat heading into the World Championships which will be held in Doha in October.
However, she admits having the young blood of Adenegan hot on her wheels is a frightening thought and is driving her to go even faster.
“Kare was pushing me all the way in that race – she is so strong for a 14-year-old,” Cockroft added. “I’ve been working on my start and doing a lot of work on the hills and I used that to win.
“It’s nice to have the challenge from all these girls coming through. It shows that the 2012 legacy worked and it has brought through new girls in who believe in themselves.
“I have been doing a lot of racing recently but it was a nice confidence-booster. I know I can go a lot quicker than that and girls like Kare are going to keep pushing me to improve.”
National Paralympic Day is generously supported by Spirit of 2012. Find out more at paralympics.org.uk/npd2015.