Kare Adenegan: 'Hannah Cockroft made me awestruck, now I'm racing her'

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Adenegan breaks T34 100m world record
World Para-athletics European Championships
Venue: Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, Berlin, Germany Date: 20-26 August

From a star-struck youngster seeking a selfie with her idol to beating her inspiration on the track, teenage wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan is making her mark on the sport.

The 17-year-old travels to this week's Para-athletics European Championships in Berlin as a world record holder and favourite to win gold and cement her status as a rising star.

Last month, at the London Stadium, the Coventry racer was an impressive winner of the T34 100m at the Anniversary Games.

Not only did she beat her hero Hannah Cockroft, she also blitzed the five-time Paralympic champion's world record with a time of 16.80 seconds. That beat the old mark by 0.38 secs to tee things up nicely for the Europeans, where the pair will do battle again over 100m and 800m.

"I was so surprised to get a world record - it was a dream come true," she tells BBC Sport.

"I had got a personal best a couple of weeks earlier and felt I was in a position to have a good race and get a good time.

"The way it happened was special and it couldn't have gone any better, with my family and friends there to support me."

Medals and 'cool selfies'

Wheelchair racers Hannah Cockroft and Kare Adenegan
Adenegan (right) won two bronzes behind Cockroft (left) at the Rio Paralympics

Adenegan, who was born with cerebral palsy, came to the sport after watching the likes of Cockroft, Jonnie Peacock and David Weir at London 2012, realising she could test herself against the best and Paralympic sport could be competitive.

She first announced herself on the scene by beating Cockroft in London in 2015, ending a seven-year unbeaten run which had stretched 300 races.

After winning three bronzes on her international debut at the 2015 World Championships, she claimed silver and two bronzes on her Paralympic debut in Rio and again at the London World Championships, each time finishing behind her British team-mate.

"I was completely in awe of Hannah after 2012," she says. "I remember when I first met her in January 2013 I had my phone and I wanted to take a cool selfie. I was literally shaking and thinking, 'oh my, it's Hannah Cockroft'.

"She is still a huge role model to me. I think of the success she has had and she continues to have and I have so much respect for that.

"It's so amazing that I watched her and I am now on the start line with her. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and think, 'wow I am doing it'.

"It is great to race alongside her and I think we learn from each other."

'Kare has had to reinvent herself'

Wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan
With a new world record of 16.80 seconds, Adenegan smashed Cockroft's previous record of 17.18 in the T34 100m

Away from the track, Adenegan combines training with her A-level studies and has an ambition to read history at university. It falls to coach Job King to ensure his charge can successfully juggle all of her requirements.

"I've always to keep in mind that she is a young athlete and has school demands and social demands and her parents are a taxi service for her and they both work as well," he says.

"We are still leaving spare days for recovery and school work because I want Kare to grow into it rather than going into it full-time at a young age.

"The good thing for Kare is Hannah has constantly got better and bounced back every year, so whenever Kare has been getting close to her, Hannah is still working hard. Kare has had to take that challenge on and reinvent herself.

"Having Hannah there has probably made it easier for me as a coach because there hasn't been success too early."

The foundation to Adenegan's London victory was laid thanks to her blistering start, and the teenager is hoping to do that again at her first European Championships, starting with the 100m on Wednesday, and followed by the 800m on Saturday.

"I just want to go out there, focus on myself and try to stay consistent and that is really important for me to do," she says.

"The 800m is so different to the 100m because tactics come into play. But I got a PB in it this season so I hope it will be strong in Berlin.

"I don't really know what to expect but I hope to win medals in both events. I just want to go and do my best and as long as I do my best I will be really pleased."