Berlin 2018: Kare Adenegan vs. Hannah Cockroft

Experience takes on youth in one of most hotly anticipated Euros match ups 13 Aug 2018
female wheelchair racers Kare Adenegan and Hannah Cockroft celebrating crossing the finish line

Adenegan (L) and Cockroft will go head to head to be the fastest T34 female at Berlin 2018

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The outcome of the women’s 100m T34 at this month’s European Championships was thrown wide open the second Kare Adenegan crossed the line at the Anniversary Games three weeks ago.

The 17-year-old stunned the crowds at London’s Olympic Park when she sped away at the gun leaving world and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft in her wake.

Adenegan powered on, crossing the line in a phenomenal 16.80 seconds, shattering Cockroft’s world record of 17.18 seconds in the process.

Cockroft, who finished second in 17.55 seconds, stated that the result was “exactly what I needed” adding that she herself did not even know if it was possible to break the 17-second barrier.

“I’ve been trying for five years now and not got it,” admitted Cockroft after the race.

“Now that someone else has got it maybe this is what I need. For so long I’ve been the trendsetter and the person to beat and now there’s someone that I can beat – it’s the best thing that could have happened.”

The result highlighted a remarkable ascent for the Coventry-based wheelchair racer who was first inspired to take up Para athletics after watching the likes of Cockroft excel at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

It wasn’t the first time Adenegan had turned the tables on her more experienced rival – although she is to date the only athlete in the T34 class to do so.

In 2015, Cockroft’s seven-year unbeaten run was broken when Adenegan claimed a win over 400m in the build up to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Still, come Championship time it was always Cockroft who reigned supreme – the Halifax-born racer bounced back from that rare defeat with a hat trick of global titles in Qatar, while Adenegan won 400m and 800m T34 bronze behind USA’s Alexa Halko.

In fact Cockroft has a total of five Paralympic, 10 world and two European titles to her name.

Now, the prospect of adding two more golds to her collection at the Berlin 2018 European Championships is - perhaps for the first time – no longer a given.

Yet those 17 major titles mean Cockroft is one of the most decorated Para athletes at the European Championships – and give her a wealth of reference points to draw on if she is threatened by Adenegan – or anyone else in the German capital.

But it looks as though this burgeoning British rivalry could be one of the high spots of the week-long championship, which gets underway on 20 August.