Hannah Cockroft exacted revenge over team-mate Kare Adenegan in stunning world record-breaking fashion to win her 11th world title and kick off a glorious Super Sunday for the British team in Dubai.
Cockroft was one of th old medallists alongside Maria Lyle and Aled Davies, as Britain added seven medals to their World Para Athletics Championships tally.
For so long unbeatable over any distance in the T34 class, Cockroft’s iron grip had slipped at points over the past few years, with a 14-year-old Adenegan ending her team-mate’s seven-year winning run back in 2015.
The teenager then pipped her more illustrious rival to the European 100m title last summer and, most significantly, bettered Cockroft’s world re
. Had a changing of the guard truly occurred or was the reversal only temporary?
The answer could not have been more unequivocal. Known for her fast start, Adenegan found herself behind from the outset in Dubai and never came close to turning the tables as Cockroft streaked clear to reclaim the world record in 16.77 seconds. Adenegan was some way back winning silver in 17.49sec.
“Last year was a godsend in the weirdest way,” Cockroft told Telegraph Sport. “It was a godsend that I never wanted.
“Kare beating me and breaking the world record really woke me up. To see her elation when she did that made me realise what I was missing. Defeat spurred me on.
“I didn’t like the doubt of if I would win or not. I didn’t like not knowing whether I could get on top of the podium.
“It was the most horrible great feeling you can have. Every session that I didn’t want to do I would think: ‘Kare will be out there training, so I need to as well.’”
Having started a history and philosophy degree at the University of Warwick this autumn, Adenegan has spent much of her free time in Dubai preparing to write an essay on Plato’s views of feminism. She was gracious in defeat, accepting “the best athlete on the day won”.
She said: “I’m quite happy with the race – I gave it everything I had. Our [T34] class is exciting because things are changing and we are getting quicker. That excites me because I want to get my world record back. That will be my motivation.”
Lyle’s triumph was all the sweeter given the depths she reached only 18 months ago after finally opening up about her mental health problems. Despite winning multiple Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth medals during her early teenage years, Lyle broke down to her mother last summer and confessed she could no longer cope with the anxiety she constantly felt.
“I used to hope people wouldn’t look at me at school,” said Lyle, who has cerebral palsy. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to people because I thought they would think I sound weird or I walk strange.
“I hid behind my running and that’s when things started to snowball. It got to the point where I was nervous and anxious to go to the track and even the thought of racing would give me anxiety. I just didn’t feel good enough as a person.”
Through the aid of professional help, Lyle has fallen back in love with athletics and she took advantage of some high-profile absentees to claim her first global title in the T35 100m on Sunday evening.
“It’s the first time I’ve been excited to come and race,” she said. “That comes from having a balance and other things outside running. This is as much as I’ve enjoyed my running.”
It was also a new beginning for Davies, who asserted his dominance to claim a fourth successive F63 shot put world title in front of his seven-week-old daughter Phoebe watching in the stands.
“It was my hardest one yet,” he said. “I’ve had so many setbacks since 2017 and then my daughter came along seven weeks ago, so it’s all been a new challenge.
“I’ve won every title and I’m world record holder so people ask what is motivating me to keep going. It’s her.
“She is my motivation. If I can show her how to rule the world hopefully she can grow up and do the same.”
Andrew Small upgraded the bronze medal he won in London two years ago to silver this time around in the T33 100m, with team-mate Harri Jenkins taking bronze.
Kyron Duke was unable to match the form that saw him break the F41 shot put world record in June as he won bronze.