Hannah Cockroft breaks own T34 100m world record as ParalympicsGB win 16 medals in single day

Credit: PA

British wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft picked up the sixth gold medal of her illustrious Paralympic career by powering to T34 100 victory in a world-record time of 16.39.

The 29-year-old lowered her own global best by 0.18 seconds at the National Stadium in Tokyo, with compatriot Kare Adenegan in second.

Silver medallist Adenegan, who finished in a time of 17.03, made the stronger start of the two before her dominant team-mate surged clear to once again claim top spot on the podium.

Elsewhere, ParalympicsGB picked up a glittering full complement of triathlon medals as Lauren Steadman also grabbed gold on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Former Strictly Come Dancing star Steadman upgraded the PT4 silver she won in Rio five years ago to PTS5 gold with a finish of 1:04:46, 41 seconds clear of American Grace Norman. ParalympicsGB team-mate Claire Cashmore completed the podium in that race in a time of 1:07:36 to win Bronze, while fellow Briton George Peasgood earlier won men’s silver in 58:55.

There were also two rowing golds as GB's PR2 mixed double sculls pair Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley, and the PR3 mixed coxed four team of Ellen Buttrick, James Fox, Giedrė Rakauskaitė, Ollie Stanhope and Erin Kennedy successfully defended their respective Paralympic titles.

ParalympicsGB also took gold in the men's wheelchair rugby, gold for Chris Skelley in the -100kg judo, gold in the equestrian team test to music for an undefeated Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells.

It was silver for Elliot Stewart in the -90kg judo, a table tennis silver for Will Bayley in the men's singles MS7, a silver for Dimitri Coutya, Piers Gilliver and Oliver Lam-Waton in the men's team foil in wheelchair fencing, and a bronze in the pool from Scott Quin in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB14, with a silver for Louise Fiddes in the women's race, silver for Ellie Challis in the women’s 50m backstroke S3, and a bronze on the track for Maria Lyles in the T35 women's 200m.

For Cockroft, glory moved her a step closer to a long-term target of surpassing the 11 Paralympic medals Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson won between 1992 and 2004.

She can close that gap further in the 800m final on Saturday.

“I honestly didn’t know that time was within me,” said Cockroft.

“I knew that Kare was going to move out of the blocks, and I had to go with her as best I could.

“She just pulled a good time out of me. It has been coming, it has always been there hiding, it has just taken a few years to show its face."

Asked about potentially topping the haul of Paralympic racing great Grey-Thompson, she replied: “I’m halfway and I’m three Games in. I’m 29, guys! I don’t know if I can do another three Games.

“It’s there, it’s in the distance. This sport has changed so much since Tanni. She left a legacy, we just have to keep bringing more young girls into the sport. If I have to keep beating them, awesome".

Cockroft has established herself as one of her country’s most recognisable Para athletes after bursting on to the scene with two golds at London 2012 and then adding a further three in Rio four years later.

Since returning from Brazil, her profile has been raised further as a presenter on BBC nature programme Countryfile, in addition to an appearance on The Great British Bake Off.

She recently claimed cooking in front of celebrity chef Paul Hollywood was more daunting than competing at the Paralympics but there are no signs of complacency creeping into her day job.

The 12-time world champion lowered her own global records in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Switzerland in May and resumed her spellbinding form in the Japanese capital.

She arrived as clear favourite as the only competitor to have dipped below 17 seconds this year.