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Q&A with Hannah Cockroft

The British wheelchair racer and five-time Paralympic champion on the frustration of a curtailed 2020 season

Where are you in lockdown?

Me and my boyfriend moved into our first house a year ago and up until quarantine began, I hadn’t spent a whole week in it. Right now, I’m just finding anything to do and watching Netflix and boxsets that I never usually get round to.

Our previous interview was all about your big plans for the Paralympics this year.

Last time we spoke, I was planning the busiest year for four years, then suddenly my inbox started to fill up with emails notifying me of cancellations. I don’t really know what we’re training for right now but I do know 2021 and 2022 will be busy.

What did you think when you heard the Tokyo Games were off?

I was upset. Everything disappeared in one speech, everything we have trained for over the last four years was gone. But when you write about that on social media, people almost don’t allow you to be sad. Yes, it’s only sport but to some people sport is life. It’s definitely my life and that has been put on hold for a year.

Mental challenge: Cockroft is doing her best to stay motivated PICTURE: GETTY

Are there consequences for you as an athlete?

I’m 27 — you start to think ‘I’ll be another year older in Tokyo now’. I’d spent January and early February training in Australia, so that was a waste of time! I’m clinging on to the hope there will be races in August and September, maybe I’ll get at least one run-out. I love competing.

Might you reprise your Muller Para Track Grand Prix from 2019?

I’d be up for putting on my own meet, which is something I did with Muller last year in Liverpool. I’d do it if I could — it would be one way to race. It would have to be later in the year, like September as it stands, but we put it all together in three weeks last year — even if it was hard work!

Is it hard to stay motivated with no races to look forward to?

The mental challenge is definitely harder than the physical. Sometimes you wonder about getting out of bed and that’s a massive thing to get over every day. There is at least another year until the Paralympics, that’s if it goes ahead then. You have to convince yourself what you’re doing now will benefit you in a year’s time.

How hard will Para sport be hit by the lack of action this year?

It’s about keeping people interested in what we do. Suddenly the brakes have been put on Tokyo and I was just lucky I managed to get a race in in Australia so I have technically raced in 2020, and that’s good from a rankings point of view.

Hannah Cockroft is a Muller Ambassador. New Muller Corner Creations is a raspberry flavour yogurt that is not only Mullerlicious, it’s a source of protein and calcium too