Still in her mid-twenties, Yorkshire born Cockroft has won five Paralympic, 10 world and two European titles since making her international debut in 2011. She most recently added to her collection by winning gold in the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 at London 2017.
Born in 1992, she took up Para athletics in 2007 aged 15 at a Loughborough University talent day where she tried wheelchair racing for the first time.
In 2010, she broke nine world records and a year later won her first world titles in New Zealand with Championship records over 100m (18.98) and 200m (33.72).
‘Hurricane Hannah’ continued her record breaking in 2012. In the 100m heats at London 2012, she lowered the Paralympic record with a time of 18.24, before clocking 18.06 in the final.
The 200m was a similar story – she broke the Paralympic record in the heats (33.20) before demolishing the opposition in the final with a time of 31.09.
In the 2013 New Year's Honours, Cockroft was awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for her achievements.
Later the same year she defended her 100m and 200m world titles at the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France, setting new championship records in both distances.
She started the 2014 season in blistering form setting a new world record in the 100m (17.91) at the Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland before following up with European titles in the 100m and 800m T34 in Swansea, Great Britain.
In June 2015 Cockroft broke her 200m world record (30.51) but a few weeks later she suffered her first defeat in 300 races. She was soon back to winning ways however, picking up three further world titles in championship record time in Doha, Qatar. She was victorious over 100m (17.73), 400m (1:02.66) and 800m (2:07.10).
Cockroft broke the 800m T34 world record (1:56.89) just weeks before heading to Rio 2016 where she took on the 100m (17.42), 400m (58.78) and 800m (2:00.62) T34. She won all three, breaking her own 400m world record in the process.
More world records followed in 2017. Over ten days of competition in May and early June, Cockroft broke no fewer than five world marks, including the 1,500m T34 – a distance she rarely races.
Heading to London 2017 as the favourite for triple gold, Cockroft didn’t disappoint, dominating all three of her events - the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 – and knocking 0.10 seconds off her previous 100m world record with a time of 17.18.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
In 2019 she was named the Disability Sportswoman of the Year at the Leeds Sports Awards in England for the third time, having also won the award in 2015 and 2017. (hannahcockroft.com, 24 Mar 2020)
In 2019 she was named the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year by The Sporting Club in London, England. (Facebook page, 05 Jan 2021; hannahcockroft.com, 24 Mar 2020)
In 2017 she was named the Sportswoman of the Year by the British Sports Journalists' Association [SJA] and Great Britain's Disability Sportswoman of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards. In the same year she was also named Sportswoman of the Year by Disability Sports Yorkshire. (telegraph.co.uk, 06 Dec 2017; paralympic.org, 27 Oct 2017; hannahcockroft.com, 24 Mar 2020)
In 2016 she won the Sporting Achievement of the Year award at the Yorkshire Awards in England. (hannahcockroft.com, 24 Mar 2020)
In 2015 she was named the Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the British Athletics Writers' Association [BAWA]. (athleticsweekly.com, 13 Nov 2015)
In 2014 she was named the Paralympic Athlete of the Year by British Athletics. (uka.org.uk, 2014)
In January 2013 she became a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE]. Later that year she was also named the Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the British Sports Journalists' Association [SJA]. (paralympic.org, 28 Feb 2013; Facebook page, 05 Jan 2021; hannahcockroft.com, 24 Mar 2020)
In 2010 and 2011 she received an award for Paralympic Performance of the Year from UK Athletics. (Facebook page, 05 Jan 2021)
In 2019 she relocated from Halifax to Cheshire in England, so she could be closer to her training base at Kirkby High School in Liverpool. The catalyst for the move was having to settle for silver in the T34 100m at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. "It definitely helped, not the living in Chester bit, but just having people to train with. I spent 12 years going round Spring Hall track [in Halifax] pretty much on my own, and it got to a point where you can't really challenge yourself. When you're training on your own you think you're going 100%, but actually you're going about 80%. When someone's next to you, it really pushes you that little bit harder. It returned a bit of the fun to the sport for me, made it a bit more social rather than just going to work, and showed me what I'd been missing a bit by doing those laps on my own in Halifax." (yorkshirepost.co.uk, 22 Dec 2019)
LONDON MEDIA EXPOSURE
She believes the 'Meet the Superhumans' advert used by the Channel 4 television company in Great Britain ahead of the 2012 Paralympic Games has been a double-edged sword for people with an impairment. "Ultimately I love the Superhuman idea, the concept of it is fantastic but it kind of got stretched out so much that it wasn't just about the Paralympians, it was about everyone in the disabled community. After London 2012 I had people approaching me in the street saying, 'My life is horrible now because of what you've done, people come and ask me why are you not the next world beater, why are you claiming benefits and not getting a job'. To have real people coming to you and saying that - we thought as Paralympians we were changing the world for the better but we actually made a lot of people's lives a lot more difficult. You know nobody looks at an able-bodied person walking down the street and goes, 'Oh that's the next Usain Bolt', but everyone looks at a person in a wheelchair or an amputee and goes, 'Why are you not racing against Jonnie Peacock?'" (skysports.com, 07 Nov 2019)
She hopes to work in television once her sporting career is over, and in 2018 she presented the British show 'Countryfile'. "I am just trying to grab the opportunities that I can and build as much of a network up as I can while still focusing on my athletics. What I found through thinking about the future was a new motivation to realise how lucky I am and how privileged a position I'm currently in. It's quite nice to have that distraction. It's quite nice not to be totally obsessed with the next championships that are coming up." (lovesportradio.com, 04 Mar 2019; yorkshirepost.co.uk, 26 Aug 2018, 12 May 2018)
She has served on the Athletes' Advisory Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. (iwf.net, 21 Oct 2020)
|Women's 200 m T34||Final||2011-01-22||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final||2011-01-24||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Heat 2||2012-08-31||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final Round||2012-08-31||1|
|Women's 200 m T34||Heat 2||2012-09-06||1|
|Women's 200 m T34||Final Round||2012-09-06||1|
|Women's 200 m T34||Final 1||2013-07-20||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final 1||2013-07-22||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final 1||2015-10-22||1|
|Women's 800 m T34||Final 1||2015-10-28||1|
|Women's 400 m T34||Final 1||2015-10-31||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final Round||2016-09-10||1|
|Women's 400 m T34||Final Round||2016-09-14||1|
|Women's 800 m T34||Final Round||2016-09-16||1|
|Women's 100 m T34||Final 1||2017-07-14||1|
|Women's 800 m T34||Final 1||2017-07-17||1|
|Women's 400 m T34||Final 1||2017-07-20||1|