British sprinter takes on the 100m, 200m and relay at the World Para Athletics Championships
Having completed a grand slam of major titles by claiming Commonwealth gold last year, Sophie Hahn is focused on maintaining that impressive winning streak as she heads into her fourth World Para Athletics Championships.
Aged just 22, the Charnwood sprinter is already a multiple champion at Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth level and is also the 100m and 200m world record-holder in the T38 category for athletes with cerebral palsy.
After Commonwealth 100m gold in Australia in April 2018, Hahn went on to win European 100m, 200m and relay titles in Berlin in the August and now hopes to retain her world 100m and 200m titles in Dubai as she also works toward a second Paralympics in Tokyo next summer.
“It’s exciting and I can’t quite believe that I’ve got the grand slam,” she says. “Hopefully I can repeat that. I’d just like to keep it going for as long as possible.
“I’d love to retain my titles in the 100m and 200m,” Hahn adds, on her aims for the world event. “If it’s a world record then that would be a bonus but for me the focus is to retain my titles and hopefully win a gold with the relay.
“It’s going to be a busy schedule but I’m ready for the challenge and I’m very excited to be in the universal relay because it’s a brand new event.
“There are two males and two females, with four different classifications in each team – visually impaired, a cerebral palsy runner, a wheelchair racer and either a leg or arm amputee.
“I’m not too sure in terms of the final four. I think we’re going to see how training goes and then decide. Whoever is going to run in the relay, it will be a strong team.”
While targeting three events is one challenge, the late timing of the championships in the season is another but Hahn has the benefit of experience, with her coach Leon Baptiste having won his Commonwealth 200m title later on in the year in 2010.
Now having been guided by Baptiste in Loughborough for a year, the sport and leisure student is pleased with her continued progress, as she improved her world 100m record to 12.43 in May to go with her 200m best of 25.93 set in July 2018 under the guidance of her former coach, Joe McDonnell.
“It’s a fantastic and very talented group and I think the working relationship with me and Leon this year has gone exceptionally well,” says Hahn, who trains alongside athletes such as Scottish 200m record-holder Beth Dobbin.
“I’m learning new drills, new warm-ups and I think that’s all going in the right direction.”
It also leaves her feeling well on track for Tokyo. “It’s only every four years,” she says, “and I can’t quite believe it’s Tokyo next year – it’s quite scary!”
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