Birmingham 2022: Hannah Cockroft eyes gold to complete medal set

Para athletics takes over Alexander Stadium with 10 medals up for grabs and local star hoping to make a new legacy 10 years after the London Paralympics 01 Aug 2022
A female wheelchair racer after crossing the line in a blue track
Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft will make her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham
ⒸNaomi Baker/Getty Images
By World Para Athletics

Home of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Alexander Stadium will host 95 athletes from 20 countries in 10 Para athletics medal events from Tuesday to Saturday (2 to 6 August).

Local superstar Hannah Cockroft will take the stage on day one of track and field events in the women’s 100m T33/34 final. The seven-time Paralympic champion will be making her Commonwealth Games debut in the year that marks the 10th anniversary of her first Paralympic Games at London 2012. 

"Birmingham is a new chance to make a new legacy,” said Cockroft. “London 2012 was ten years ago. I visit schools now and you say ‘do you remember London 2012’ and they go ‘Miss, I was born in 2017’. 

“We need to move on from that now and make a new one, so that those kids that weren’t alive in 2012 have something new to look up to and something new to aspire to be."  

The English wheelchair racer will face strong competition from two athletes who shared the podium with her at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last year. England’s Kare Adenegan was silver in Japan and Australia’s Robyn Lambird, bronze. 

The other two Para athletics events on day one will be the men’s 100m T45-47 and women’s 100m T37/38 – in which two-time Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn will be defending England and her Commonwealth Games title from Gold Coast 2018.

Plenty of defending champions

Wednesday (3) will be the day for some of the world’s best male athletes to entertain the crowd at the Alexander Stadium.

On the field, Aled Davies will try to transform his silver medal from Glasgow 2014 into gold for Wales in the men’s discus F42-44/61-64. 

Paralympic champion in Tokyo, Thomas Young withdrew from Birmingham 2022 due to an injury leaving the stage open to other experienced Paralympians to go for gold in the men’s 100m T37/38 on Wednesday. 

Australia’s Evan O’Hanlon finished third at Tokyo 2020 but has two gold medals (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and a silver (Rio 2016) to his name. South Africa’s Charl du Toit was the Rio 2016 champion in the 100m T37.

The Aussie sprinter is the defending champion in the race and Du Toit was bronze four years ago in Gold Coast.

Another Australian star in Birmingham, Madison de Rozario already bagged a gold in the women’s marathon T53/54  over the weekend and will be aiming for a second in the women’s 1500m on Thursday (4).

"I've never stepped down from marathon to track before – none of us have. I'm a little bit nervous. I haven't done too much track work since Tokyo [2020 Paralympic Games], so it's a bit of an unknown for me," said De Rozario after her marathon triumph.

She also triumphed in both events at home in the last edition. Her compatriot Angie Ballard finished with silver four years ago and will be hoping to go one better in Birmingham.

Scotland’s Samantha Kinghorn finished fourth and fifth, respectively at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 and is keen to pick the piece of metal that has eluded her. 

Thursday action will also host the women’s discus F42-44/61-64 and the men’s 100m T11/12. 

Nigeria favourite at closing event

The men’s 1500m T53/54 will be the sole Para athletics event on Friday (5) as Canada’s Alex Dupont will be another racer aiming to defend the Commonwealth Games gold medal. England’s Daniel Sidbury was the best placed (sixth) in the Tokyo 2020 final among the starters in Birmingham. 

The women’s shot put F55/57 will wrap up the Para athletics programme at Birmingham 2022 on Saturday (6). 
Nigeria’s Eucharia Iyiazi is the name to beat as the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist. She also has a gold medal from Beijing 2008 in that event on her CV. 

Vanuatu’s Elie Enock will be making her second appearance at Birmingham 2022 as she will also be defending her country in Para powerlifting on Thursday. 

Schedule, results and all medallists from this year’s Commonwealth Games can be found here.