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Inspiration Messages From Hannah Cockroft

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Hannah Cockroft Winning A Heat At The 2012 London Paralympic Games

 
In the 2012 New Years honours list many Olympians, Paralympians and other people who have provided inspiration messages for us during the year received well-deserved recognition. For me, one of the most deserved awards was an MBE for the wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft.

Born on 30 July 1992 in Halifax, Hannah suffered two cardiac arrests as she was born and these damaged her brain so that she had impaired balance and mobility, weak hips, and deformed feet and legs. Doctors believed Hannah would never be able to walk, talk or live beyond adolescence. It was expected she would never be able to look after herself.

Hannah told reporters “I don’t like people telling me what to do. My parents put me in standing frames I hated them for it at the time but now I cannot thank them enough.”

With the support of her parents, Hannah did not let her challenges stop her and in school she became interested in sport, competing in swimming, seated discus, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing. Her bubbly personality meant she found the inspiration messages to enjoy her sport. Her father was a welder and built a racing wheelchair for her.

In 2007, Hannah went to a British Paralympic Association open day at Loughborough University where she met Dr. Ian Thompson who was married to the wheelchair-racing champion Tanni Grey-Thompson. Hannah says, “Ian let me have a go in his wheelchair and I loved it. I’d never experienced anything like it before. You go and you don’t stop.” Dr. Thompson agreed to coach Hannah for the first year, providing the words of motivation she needed to get her career started.

Hannah received a new wheelchair from the WhizzKids charity, which helped her mobility and the following year a dance academy she attended gave her the money to buy her own racing wheelchair. This was the famous chair she named ‘Sally’ and she used to gain great success in subsequent years.

Hannah was invited to join the British Paralympic team.

At the 2010 British Wheelchair Athletics Association International championships she broke four world records. Initially she was aiming for success at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro but her new coach Peter Eriksson provided the words of motivation she needed to aim for London 2012.

Hannah continued to break records leading up the London Games and, once the events started, she won the first track and field gold medal for Great Britain winning the T4 100 metres in a new Paralympic record time. A week later she won her second gold in the T34 200 metres – again in a record time.

Voted by FHM magazine as ‘the sexiest Paralympic athlete’, Hannah has managed to retain her down-to-earth bubbly personality and is now training for future races. “There is always something to aim for, you’ve just got to find it and concentrate on it.”

In the meantime Hannah finds time to provide inspiration messages for other people, using her newfound fame to help others achieve in the way she has.

“You meet some people who’ve had accidents and they’re like ‘my life is so terrible, I’m disabled, feel sorry for me’, and then you meet others who say their life is so much better now and that’s just amazing to hear. I’ve been disabled since birth and I’ve always been a bit cocky, but it’s really inspirational to meet people who don’t think that life stops when you get put in a wheelchair.”

“Miss Hannah Lucy Cockroft MBE has a certain ring to it don’t you think?” She says on Facebook.

The video below gives a great impression of the personality of this strong but endearing athlete.
 


 
 

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