28th April 2020


As athletes continue to adapt to the lockdown environment, Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn spoke about navigate the challenges facing athletes in 2020 and the ways in which she is adapting to the new conditions.

The 23-year-old peaked perfectly for double gold at the World Para Athletics Championships, held in mid-November, returning from Dubai with a pair of world records in the T38 100m and 200m.

With coach, Leon Baptiste and British Athletics’ strength and conditioning coach, Sam Heathcote, remotely guiding her through speed and endurance sessions around government social distancing regulations, Hahn paid tribute to her support system.

“As an athlete it’s important to feel like you’ve got support at this time,” said Hahn.

“It can get quite lonely when you’re training on your own, but I have a great support network with friends and family and then my coaching team in place. It gives you peace of mind. We also have access to physios and nutritionists through British Athletics which I’m very grateful for.”

“It’s important for me to keep maintaining my fitness. I love what I do and keeping fit gives me a focus, it means there’s a purpose to every day.

“I’m very lucky to still have a programme in place, which Leon and Sam send through to me every week. It’s not going to be 100% perfect and you have to be prepared to make adjustments.

Looking back on a successful 2019 season, Hahn reflected:

“2019 was a long season so it was tough to have to train for that long, take a break and then start up again. Leon and Sam did a fantastic job in planning everything out.

“It couldn’t have gone much better and what we managed to achieve was amazing.”

Hahn’s impressive medal haul now stacks up at seven world championship golds, five European Championships titles and of course the Paralympic crown over T38 100m.

In Dubai she lowered the T38 100m mark to 12.38s, having run a world record 12.43s earlier in the year, and beat the 200m world record she set at the 2018 Muller Anniversary Games by 0.01s.

Peaking for major Championships is one of Hahn’s major strengths, meaning she’s well equipped to deal with the postponement of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo by a year. The coronavirus pandemic means the Games will now take place between 24 August and 5 September 2021.

Hahn expressed her disappointment at the news but insisted when it comes to retaining her 100m title from Rio, the fire still burns bright.

“It’s sad to see the Paralympics not happen this year,” she said.

“It’s all about staying safe and being with your friends and family at this time and it was the correct decision.“It’s sad because we’ve been working towards it for the last few years. We’ve got another year to get our head down and work hard, we’re going to make it an exciting Games, an epic Games and we all can’t wait.

“It’d be amazing if I could go there and retain my title and become a double Paralympic champion.”