Double Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft has shrugged off questions about her dominance as a wheelchair racer after her phenomenal successes at London 2012.
The 20-year-old from Halifax won women’s T34 100m and 200m gold – the first by 1.43 seconds and the second, on Thursday night, by 2.26secs.
“I used to get a lot of comments saying I was a cheat and a fake,” said Cockroft, who has cerebral palsy.
“But I have all the doctors’ notes proving I am in the right class.
“There are so many athletes winning by massive amounts here. It is either they’re training harder or they’ve overcome their disability in a different way. There’s no real answer to it.
“I’m not really bothered by the comments any more. Whatever – I’ve got two gold medals.
“Someone, somewhere is going to beat me one day. I’d like someone out there to push me and challenge me and make me train a bit harder, but at the same time I like it that I’m that far ahead, because then I have confidence about myself.”
Cockroft was discovered at a ParalympicsGB talent identification day in October 2007, while some of her rivals only began racing 12 months ago.
She added: “All the girls are at different stages of their career. I’ve had longer to perfect my technique and strengthen my body.”
Cockroft, also T34 world champion at both sprint events, hit a top speed of 17mph in her 200m victory, which she anticipated would be closer than it was.
Some of her rivals had even tried some gamesmanship in the waiting room before the final.
She added: “The other girls know what I have to offer. One of them said to me in the call room ‘just take it easy on us today Hannah’, and I was like ‘I’m not here to be nice to you’.
“I knew I was the favourite and that adds a lot of pressure going into it. It’s the strongest that comes out on top.
“I’m so sad that this is all over now. It’s amazing out there and I know even Rio is never going to beat London – you’re never going to race in front of an 80,000 home crowd again.”