GOLD IN RIO FOR KADEENA
Kadeena Cox’s place in the history books is written in permanent marker now. The 25-year-old Sale Harrier has swept through a staggering amount of work during her brief time in Rio.
Two years since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Cox won her third Paralympic medal in the space of six days when she braved the searing Brazilian heat to cross the line in a thrilling T38 400m final in a time of 1min 0.71secs, becoming the first British Paralympian to top the podium in two different sports in the same Games since 1984.
None of it has been straightforward for a woman who competed in able-bodied sport before suffering a stroke in 2014. Her condition can deplete her energy levels and many people thought that she should choose between athletics and cycling. But that is not Cox’s style.
When she became the first British Paralympian to win two medals in two different sports since Isabel Newstead’s discus gold and shooting bronze in 1988, clinching the C4-5 with a world record ride on Saturday night, her world record ride in the Velodrome came 24 hours after her bronze in the T38 100m.
Cox found herself pushing against the weight of history again in yesterday morning’s 400m final. It was hot inside the Olympic Stadium and Cox had to produce a determined charge down the home straight to see off China’s Junfei Chen, who looked in control of the race after they went round the bend. Brazil’s Veronica Hipolito won bronze.
“I took it a little bit easy through the first 200 and I was meant to work a little bit harder through that top end and I didn’t do it as well as my coach would have liked,” Cox said. “But I was comfortable and knew I had a lot left. I’m pretty strong at the back due to the cycling. I knew I would have it.
“But then the Chinese girl was there stride for stride and I was like ‘No, please don’t take it away from me’. By the end I was hobbling all over the place and I’m over the moon. My legs were feeling it. I was worried I would fall. That has happened before and you spend a lot of time crawling. I’m just glad I managed to get through it. I’m in agony and I’m in one piece thanks to the team behind me.”
There was only going to be one winner once Cox accelerated away in the 200m, even though she is an inexperienced 400m runner. “That was my third 400,” she said. “I’d done two and they were two seconds apart so it could have gone one way or the other so I wasn’t sure if it was going to go better or worse. But I just ran it how I knew I could and was strong at the back end. I wanted to make sure I worked and could come home strong.”
Laughing and smiling, Cox was wrapped in a Union Jack when she walked away from the track. “It’s amazing, I’ve managed to do it,” she said. “I’m a gold medallist and world record holder in two sports. Oh, that is literally what I was dreaming of. I was sat praying before I did it. I was just like ‘please God, please God, get me there’ and I’m so thankful.”
Posted 15/09/2016 08:19