The double Paralympic champion recently saw her unbeaten streak come to an end but is determined to return to her winning ways at the IPC Athletics World Championships

Hannah Cockroft says suffering her first defeat in seven years and more than 300 races has given her the “little kick” she needed ahead of the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, held from October 22-31.

The double Paralympic champion is the dominant force in women’s T34 wheelchair racing and as well as her success at London 2012 the 23-year-old has claimed four world gold medals and two European titles since 2011. Cockroft is preparing to defend her world 100m title in Qatar, where she will also contest the 400m and 800m, and having been beaten by her fellow Briton Kare Adenegan over one lap last month, the Halifax athlete is determined not to let it happen again when there are titles at stake.

“I lined up too relaxed, too expectant of the fact that I knew the girls really well,” Cockroft says, reflecting on the race in Newham. “I’ve raced against these girls all season. It always went that Sammi Kinghorn, the T53 athlete, would win it, I’d come in second and Kare would battle it out with the other girls at the back. I started the race really well but then just switched off. It wasn’t until Kare passed me about 250 metres into the race that I woke up and by that time it was too late to pull it back.

“It’s nice to have that pressure of seven years unbeaten gone”

“But I can’t take it away from her – she was the best prepared athlete on the day and I was just a little bit too complacent about it.”

Although Cockroft admits that at first she was shocked and upset, the Jennifer Banks-coached athlete now feels as though 14-year-old Adenegan has done her a favour.

“It’s nice to have that pressure of seven years unbeaten gone,” she says. “When it happened it was a shock, it was upsetting, it was scary. But people don’t remember unbeaten streaks – people remember gold medals at Paralympic Games and World Championships.

“I definitely needed this little kick. I’d rather it happened here than her taking one of my golds in Doha!”

“I definitely needed this little kick. I’d rather it happened here than her taking one of my golds in Doha!”

After London 2012, Cockroft’s T34 200m event was replaced with the 800m and though she remains a sprinter “through and through” she has risen to the challenge of also taking on the longer event.

Cockroft is set to face Adenegan over all three distances in Doha and is hopeful that now she is being further challenged on the track, it might reignite some of the excitement she feels has possibly been lost through her being dominant for so long.

“People seem to love a rivalry,” she says. “Everyone loves the Jonnie (Peacock) verses Richard (Browne), everyone loves David (Weir) versus Marcel (Hug). Maybe now people will learn to love Hannah versus Kare.

“I hope now to not just line up and have people go ‘oh Hannah’s in the race, so the race is over’. People can go ‘oh, I wonder who is going to win this one’. That’s what brings the magic out of athletics, it makes the win worth the win. That had kind of disappeared.

“No pressure to Kare, but hopefully she can keep up!” she adds with a smile.