Athletics: One gold, two Paralympic records – Cockroft takes the 100m by storm


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The Independent Online

Yorkshire's wheelchair whiz Hannah Cockroft crushed the opposition as she won Great Britain's first athletics gold in the T34 100m, to the absolute delight of a packed Olympic Stadium on the first night of track and field.

The 20-year-old from Halifax won the race by a remarkable distance – she was almost one-and-a-half seconds ahead of her Dutch rival – breaking the Paralympic record for the second time in one day.

The wheelchair racer, who was brain damaged after suffering two cardiac arrests at birth, only took up wheelchair racing four years ago. But the youngster has already broken 21 world records and became the first athlete to do so in the Olympic Stadium at a test event in May. Cockroft had already broken the eight-year-old Paralympics record by almost one and a half seconds earlier in the heats. She is also the reigning world champion and world record holder in the 200m, which is on Thursday.

ParalympicsGB came home with a disappointing four athletics medals in Beijing – a tally they are already halfway to matching after the first day of competition.

The wheelchair racing legend, David Weir, got the crowd in the mood last night when he came through his T54 5,000m heat without too much effort. There was one hairy moment as a wayward discus landed on the track, but the racers kept going unbothered.

Weir, 33, currently holds the British record at all track distances up to 5,000m, as well as on the road at 10km, half-marathon, and marathon, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest wheelchair racers of all time.

Earlier Aled Davies, the 21-year-old Welshman, clinched bronze in the F42/44 shot put in what is not even his main event.