Support through Sport UK's Helen Keeling spoke to London 2012 Paralympic double gold medallist Hannah Cockroft ...
Hi Hannah. How excited are you to be competing in front of your home crowd again at the 2013 Sainsbury's Athletics Grand Prix Final?
I’m really excited. It’ll be the biggest Paralympics event since London and so it’ll be awesome to have the home crowd and those incredible levels of support again. It’ll also be interesting to see if the London Paralympic legacy has held on.
Can the Dutch girls, who claimed silver and bronze behind you [in the T34 200 metres] in London, get close to you tomorrow?
Difficult to say. I do know that they have both been busy with university and college of late - but sometimes a distraction can be a good thing. So we’ll have to see tomorrow - but hopefully I’ll come through!
How would you sum up your experiences and successes in London?
It was almost a bit of a daze. Everything happened so quickly. But it was amazing and I realised my dreams. It was a lot to take in! I’m really looking forward to the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium at the end of July, as competing in that stadium again will be a bit like reliving the moment. I think it will be a bit emotional!
How did the London Games change things for Paralympians?
There is definitely now much more parity for us, which is brilliant.
How are your preparations going for the 2013 IPC Worlds in Lyon later this summer?
Really well. I’m feeling stronger than ever and my new coach, Jenny Banks, and I are doing well together and we’ve been coming up with some new training ideas. In my first race after London, I broke my 800 metre world record and then I went on to break my 100 and 200 metre records too - so it’s looking promising and I’m in shape!
What are your plans after you‘ve finished your competitive racing?
Maybe a media-related role. I’m going to be starting a degree in media and journalism later this year. I think lots of athletes either go on to do media or political jobs and I’d be terrible at politics, so I’d like to be the next Clare Balding!
Is it true that you’ve played basketball and competed at discus at high levels too?
Yes. I got an offer to play for GB women’s basketball when I was 13 but at the same time I started throwing the discus for Yorkshire and Humberside … and it was through discus that I got talent-spotted for wheelchair racing. I’ve gone through the sports quite a bit!
Is it also true that your dad built your first racing chair?
Yes. We bought a chair and then he customised it to suit my needs (he’s a welder). Now I have another chair - Sally! Sally’s named after Sally Brown - the Paralympic runner.
Good luch tomorrow, Hannah - and also at the Worlds and at the Anniversary Games!