Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks) achieved the hat-trick of gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games as Kare Adenegan (Job King) and Dan Greaves (John Godina) won bronze to take ParalympicsGB’s athletics medal tally to 31, higher than the total from London 2012.
Competing over the 800m, Cockroft delivered a dominant display, leading all the way to take her fifth career Paralympic gold. Adding to her 100m and 400m titles from earlier in the programme, the Yorkshire-based athlete recorded a season best of 2:00.62 on her way to the triumph.
She said: “It is ridiculous; absolutely ridiculous. Coming into the Games, it was always the aim to win three golds. I’ve always said if you don’t think you are going to win, what’s the point in being here? I don’t really enjoy the 800m – I’m just not very confident so I went in with plan A, plan B and plan C. I was thinking, Kare’s got a strong pick-up, Alexa (Halko) has a good start – all these girls have different strengths.
“As I was on my second lap, Dan Greaves lent out of the discus circle and screamed at me. I think I picked up a bit of speed after that. It is fantastic to have such a supportive team out here – the athletes have been great and the staff have been so helpful. It has just been the most amazing Games.”
On adapting to the 800m discipline, Cockroft added: “It has been tough mentally and physically – I’m very confident over the sprints but the 800m is way out of my comfort zone. My coach Jenni (Banks) has had to persuade me that I am good at this. I came out today thinking I’ll be happy to just get on the podium.
16 year-old Adenegan has had a Games to remember, taking her third Paralympic medal of the week after deploying her tactics to precision. Sitting on Alexa Halko’s wheel for the majority of the race, she had the power to overtake Australia’s Rosemary Little and win a second bronze medal.
A delighted Adenegan commented: “That was quite a big surprise – to get a huge PB is so amazing. To medal in all my events makes me so happy. The plan was to track Alexa (Halko) the whole way; she knows what she is doing. Usually I’m the sort of person who will go out by myself but I thought, ‘you need to be smart about this’ so my tactics paid off.”
Reflecting upon her first Paralympic experience she said: “The 100m was particularly special; to get that silver medal was a reward because I have worked so hard for it. To be on that podium once again with Hannah is great. I was watching 2012 on TV and it is crazy to think I am here winning medals alongside her.”
After suffering with illness for the last week, Mel Nicholls (King) valiantly took to the track in the same race, crossing the line fifth in a time of 2:13.59.
Greaves (John Godina) won a fifth consecutive Paralympic medal in the F44 discus, taking bronze to add to those from every Games since Sydney 2000. In a tough category, Greaves threw a best of 59.57m to place behind USA’s David Blair and Trinidad and Tobago’s Akeem Stewart.
The five-time medallist said: “I can’t grumble; I’ve never been so happy with a bronze medal. It means so much to me to win medals at five consecutive Games. I had a torrid time coming fourth last year (at the World Championships in Doha) but maybe it was a blessing in disguise. This year has been so good and so positive, and I’m so pleased for my coach John Godina. It’s so hard to get gold and silver these days because the sport is moving on so fast. That distance would have won silver four years ago but a world record was needed to win it today. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it as much as I did.
“This will be my Paralympic farewell. I’ve been doing the sport for so long but I wanted to bow out in the medals. London 2017 World Championships will be so good next year – my fondest memory is 2012 and to go back into that stadium and see all my friends and family cheer me on will be the icing on the cake as well as a very fond farewell to athletics.”
Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks) sadly missed out on a spot in the T54 100m, placing tenth overall in the heats in with a time of 14.83 (+0.4).
ParalympicsGB Athletics medal tally: (31)
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Paul Blake – T36 400m
Jo Butterfield – F51 Club Throw
Libby Clegg & Chris Clarke – T11 100m and 200m
Kadeena Cox – T38 400m
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m, 400m and 800m
Aled Davies – F42 Shot Put
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m
Georgie Hermitage – T37 100m and 400m
Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m
Richard Whitehead – T42 200m
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T44 High Jump
Toby Gold – T33 100m
Stef Reid – T44 long jump
Richard Whitehead – T42 100m
Women’s T35-38 4x100m relay – (Kadeena Cox, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn)
Kare Adenegan – T34 400m
Kadeena Cox – T38 100m and 800m
Dan Greaves – F44 Discus
Sabrina Fortune – F20 shot put
Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw
Gemma Prescott – F32 club throw
Andrew Small – T33 100m
David Henson – T42 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m