27th October 2020


World champions, Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks; club: Leeds) and Maria Lyle (Jamie Bowie; Team East Lothian), have been shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards 2020, in the Disability Sportswoman of the Year category. A special online ceremony will be held on Wednesday 25 November.

Both secured double gold medal hauls at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai last November; Cockroft sealing her 11th and 12th global titles, while Lyle won gold on the world stage for the first time in her career.

Cockroft, the most decorated British female para athlete in history, did it in style, setting a phenomenal world record in the T34 100m, going sub 17 seconds for the first time in her career, recording 16.77. In doing so, she won the 100m title for the fifth time in her career following success in Christchurch, Lyon, Doha and London.

She followed up her victory in the sprint with a commanding performance in the 800m, dominating the contest to seal her third consecutive world title over the distance.

Despite a disrupted 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cockroft shone on her return to the track after the enforced lay-off.

Competing at the Müller British Athletics Championships for the first time, the 28-year-old won the women’s 400m wheelchair race in convincing style, pipping Sammi Kinghorn to the winner’s trophy.

She followed this up with personal bests (unofficial world records) in the 100m (16.71), 200m (30.09), 400m (55.98) and 800m (1:49.85). – all recorded in one day – at the British Wheelchair Athletic Association (BWAA) Grand Prix in Stoke Mandeville. However, the times were not be ratified because the event was not sanctioned by World Para Athletics and there was no doping control present.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 10: Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain celebrates winning the Women’s 100m T34 final on Day Four of the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai on November 10, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

For Maria Lyle, Dubai was a real breakthrough, as she claimed the women’s T35 100m and 200m titles for the first time, in impressive fashion. The Scot has competed on British teams since she was 14, winning medals – and titles – at several major Championships and Games in recent years.

The decorated athlete shone in the 100m, showing her class to take her first world title, and earn her a spot on top of the podium ahead of Oxana Corso (ITA) and Nienke Timmer (NED).

She followed this up a few days later in the T35 200m. In the hot conditions at the Dubai Club for People with Determination, the 20-year-old moved away from the rest of the field to capture a satisfying double gold medal haul.

Lyle, who has also set up her own podcast, ‘This Ability Podcast’, with Scottish journalist, Gary Heatly, during lockdown earlier this year, competed at the Muller British Athletics Championships and a number of events in Scotland upon the return of the sport in 2020, supporting the domestic competitions.

Now in their 33rd year, the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards have led the way in recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite performers, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational women.

Find out more at https://www.sportswomenoftheyear.co.uk/#home