13th July 2023


Hannah Cockroft stormed to her 20th major global title at the World Para Athletics Championships in France as part of an impressive British clean sweep in the women’s T34 100m final that saw Kare Adenegan claim a superb silver and Fabienne André a brilliant bronze. Olivia Breen ensured the night ended in style with her own silver.

Cockroft (coach: Paul Moseley, club: Leeds) made a statement during qualifying as she clocked a new Championship record of 16.67 seconds and was as professional and controlled as ever in the final to claim her 13th world title in a time of 16.81 – which added to the seven Paralympic titles she also holds – moves her even further into legend status with 20 in total from the globe’s two biggest events.

Adenegan (Job King, Coventry) is another proven major international performer and raced superbly herself to confirm silver – her 13th medal across the worlds and Paralympics – in 17.82 while debutant at these Championships André (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) was truly impressive herself as she raced into third position early on and never looked like relinquishing it to take bronze in 19.28.

Breen’s (Aston Moore, City of Portsmouth) bid for a medal in the women’s T38 long jump began moments after that British clean sweep and she was the model of consistency after leaping into second in the first round, staying there all the way through and ending with a best of 5.04m from the fifth round, that her legal season’s best for the year so far.

The British clean sweep from Cockroft, Adenegan and André, plus Breen’s silver, moved the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team’s medal tally up to 14 after five days of competition in Paris – five gold, four silver and five bronze – and Cockroft is intent on ensuring the title rush doesn’t end there.

“You think about it for so long and we have waited for these World Championships for so long – it has been four years since the last world champs – you kind of start wondering whether you’re going to do it,” she said:

“Coming out [in the heats] I really wasn’t sure where my 100m was at. To come out with a Championship record – I know there is so much more to come – but I am dead happy.

“I’ve still got the relay [in Paris], which I am terrified about but also the 800m, which I am actually really excited for. I’ve been really strong over the 800m this year so I really hope that whatever I do out there shows that. Let’s hope it’s not world champ No.13 for long.”

Cockroft got off to the best start of the field in the women’s T34 100m final although Adenegan was almost equal through the first 20m. Cockroft pushed ahead to claim gold in 16.81 while Adenegan kept focussed on the task in hand to take silver in 17.82.

All the while Cockroft and Adenegan were securing gold and silver, André was in the middle of the race of her life, blasting off the start line herself and never letting up in her pursuit of bronze. She clocked 19.14 with USA’s Eva Houston in fourth place never really near passing her.

Cockroft added: “I am so incredibly proud of both Kare and Fabs. Kare for keeping on the chase and keeping me pushing. And Fabs for stepping up. I think she did take a knock this morning – finishing fourth in the heats was definitely not in her plan. But she came back.

“It is tough doing a heat in the morning, waiting a whole night, we have been up since 05:30 and it was past 20:00 [when the final finished]. We’re tired but she has come on and put in the performance of her life. I love it. I think she is amazing.”

Adenegan’s silver is her eighth career World Championship medal, in fact she has only ever failed to medal in one race in her entire career at the event, and she said: “It’s a great honour always to be out there on the world stage and obviously to do a 1-2-3 in the 100m is amazing. I’m so proud and so happy for Hannah and Fabs, it’s great.

“I know there’s things that could be better about my race and I’ve learnt a lot this season, so I’m really motivated to sort things out and also to hopefully come back stronger. It’s really great at this championships that we’ve had heats as well as finals; it really shows that a lot more girls are coming through.

“It’s really great, it helps to keep the class competitive as well, so the future’s really exciting. Fabienne’s been looking really great this season, Hannah’s been looking really great this season – so we really knew that actually the three of us could do well here and bring back lots of medals for Great Britain.”

On a day where she finally made her World Championship debut, just shy of two years after making her Paralympic bow in Tokyo in 2021 and finishing fifth in the women’s T34 100m, André said: “After this morning I just had to go home, rest up, re-group and then get ready to go again.

“I haven’t done a heat and a final before so it’s a new experience and it’s just great to be able to step it up in the final and come third. To complete a GB 1-2-3 and be on the podium again alongside Kare and Hannah is just amazing.

“For me to be able to step up my game from Tokyo [Paralympic Games] and get on that podium is amazing. I’m just really proud of myself for holding myself after this morning and being able to go out and put on an even better performance.”

Breen, who is returning to competition after a slight ankle problem, had opened her campaign in Paris with the T38 100m where she finished sixth but a medal in the long jump always looked likely from the very off.

She placed second after a first-round effort of 4.62m, eventual winner Luca Ekler of Hungary opening up with a 5.77m that would be the winning distance. Despite Ekler’s leap, Breen improved to 4.95m second time out before a 4.77m third and 4.71 fourth.

Breen broke the five-metre barrier in impressive style in the fifth round, leaping out to 5.04m before a foul in the sixth and final round. Silver in the long jump represents a marked improvement on the bronze Breen won at the last World Championships four years ago and she said: “It’s really special as it’s my first silver medal in the long jump, so I’m really ecstatic.

“I’m just so happy it was a good competition – and consistent. I’m hungry for more, there’s a big jump there and I’m just so excited for next year. It was a bit hit and miss about how the ankle was going to handle things.

“I didn’t use the blocks in the 100m because I wanted to save for the long jump as that’s my main event, so I’m just really happy that it stayed in one piece. Now my plan is to rehab and get ready for next year.”


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medallists:

GOLD: [5] Gavin Drysdale [Men’s T72 100m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T64 high jump], Sabrina Fortune [Women’s F20 shot put], Hollie Arnold [Women’s F46 javelin], Hannah Cockroft [Women’s T34 100m]

SILVER: [4] Rafi Solaiman [Men’s T72 100m], Sammi Kinghorn [Women’s T53 800m], Kare Adenegan [Women’s T34 100m], Olivia Breen [Women’s T38 long jump]

BRONZE: [5] Zac Shaw [Men’s T12 100m], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 5000m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m], Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m]

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