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Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain prepares to compete in the Women's 400m T34 at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Hannah Cockroft


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.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy

Further personal information

Halifax, ENG
English, German
Higher education
Journalism - Coventry University: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began racing at age 15 at a Loughborough University talent day in England.
Why this sport?
"I like the ability to travel at speed as it isn't possible without my wheelchair. I like the speed, adrenaline and pure fun in the sport. "
Club / Team
Leeds City Athletic Club: England
Name of coach
Paula Dunn [national], GBR; Jenni Banks [personal], AUS, from 2013

International debut

Competing for
Great Britain
World Championships
Christchurch, NZL

General interest

Hurricane Hannah, Han, Rocketwoman, Pippy Long Stocking [because she wears long striped socks and ties her hair in bunches when she races]. (Athlete, 06 Dec 2010; Facebook profile, 14 May 2017)
Watching television, reading. (, 08 Jul 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement
Breaking her first world record in 2010 in Knowsley, England. (, 03 Feb 2016)
Most influential person in career
Her parents. (, 07 Nov 2014)
Hero / Idol
Her father, and Canadian wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc. (, 11 Oct 2015)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Her nails have to match the colour of her kit. She has lucky underwear and socks, and also eats jelly before each race. (, 07 Nov 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Those afraid of pain will never know glory." (, 07 Nov 2014)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2017 Sportswoman of the Year by the British Sports Journalists' Association [SJA]. (, 06 Dec 2017)

She was named 2017 Great Britain's Disability Sportswoman of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards. (, 27 Oct 2017)

She was named 2015 Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the British Athletics Writers' Association. (, 13 Nov 2015)

She was named the 2014 Paralympic Athlete of the Year by British Athletics. (, 2014)

She was named the 2013 Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the British Sports Journalists' Association [SJA]. (Facebook page, 17 Aug 2015)

In January 2013 she was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE]. (, 28 Feb 2013)

She received an award for Paralympic Performance of the Year in 2010 and 2011 from UK Athletics. (Facebook page, 17 Aug 2015)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 12 May 2018)
She has cerebral palsy after experiencing two cardiac arrests at birth that damaged two areas of her brain. She has weak hips, underdeveloped feet and legs, as well as problems with mobility and balance. "Doctors told my parents I would never be able to do anything my whole life and wouldn't live past my teenage years." (, 25 Aug 2012;, 24 Aug 2012)
Other information
Having studied for a journalism degree, she wants to become a TV presenter: "That's still what I am interested in so I am just trying to grab the opportunities that I can with that at the moment and build as much of a network up as I can while still focusing on my athletics." (, 12 May 2018)

She suffered a bout of food poisoning while competing at the 2017 World Championships in London, England, but it did not prevent her from winning three gold medals at the event. (, 12 May 2018)

She has always given her racing wheelchairs names. The chair she was using in the lead-up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was named after a friend who died in April 2016. Her friend, Tahlia Banks, had cystic fibrosis and died when her body rejected a kidney used in a transplant. Banks' nickname was 'Tinker Bell'. "I lost one of my best friends last year so my chair is named after her." (, 16 Mar 2016)

Her seven year unbeaten run in the T34 class came to an end in September 2015, when she was defeated by fellow British racer Kare Adenegan in the T34 400m at the 2015 Grand Prix event in London, England. "With hindsight, it was the best thing that could ever have happened. It really shook me I wasn't guaranteed to win for the first time in my career." (, 29 Sep 2015;, 03 Feb 2016)

In November 2014 she founded her own sports management company named 17 Sports Management Limited. (, 04 Nov 2014; Twitter profile, 17 Sep 2015)


Unit Date Rank
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T34 Final 2011-01-22 1
Women's 100 m T34 Final 2011-01-24 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T34 Final 1 2013-07-20 1
Women's 100 m T34 Final 1 2013-07-22 1
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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