5 inspiring female Paralympians representing team GB at Tokyo 2020
It's been a whirlwind summer of sports, with the Euros, Wimbledon, and the Olympic Games. After a long and challenging year, people across the country have taken the opportunity to come together and celebrate these athletes' amazing accomplishments, both in their sporting careers and their personal lives.
If you still haven't had your fill of sport in 2021, the good news is that the Paralympics is underway! To get us into the spirit of the games, Peter Watton from the matched betting experts OddsMonkey is here to tell us more about five inspiring women competing in this years' games.
This hard-working Paralympian is going for gold in not just one, but two sports! Kadeena is going to be kept busy in Tokyo by competing in both athletics (in the women's 400m sprint category) and in track cycling (in the 500m time trials). While she's now smashing it as a Paralympian, the journey to get to where she is today wasn't so simple.
Kadeena began her career competing in able-bodied events, but was forced to stop in 2014 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, she didn't let this diagnosis interfere with her sporting career, as she set her sights on attending the Rio Paralympics in 2016. Not only did she get there, but she won a gold, silver, and bronze in athletics, as well as a gold in cycling!
But Kadeena isn't planning on stopping there. She revealed to her 60,000 followers on TikTok that she hopes to one day compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics in cycling. Kadeena also uses herTikTok to debunk disability stereotypes, including the misconception that all disabilities are visible.
She's also spoken out strongly against the racism she's experienced while competing in the sport, including comments from people telling her to straighten her afro to fit into her cycling helmet. In an area of society that is, in her own words, "dominated by white, middle-class people", Kadeena Cox is the breath of fresh air needed to diversify the sport and inspire disabled women of colour to follow her lead.
Hannah Cockroft MBE
Throughout her life, Hannah has been defying the odds. After suffering two cardiac arrests at just two days old, which damaged her brain, nervous system, feet, and legs, Doctors told her parents she would be unlikely to live beyond her teenage years. Not only did she surpass this expectation, but she has become one of the most prominent Paralympians in the country.
Hannah's wheelchair racing career got off to a flying start, and her success only continues to grow. She began wheelchair racing in 2007, and just four years later she won two gold medals in the 2011 IPC World Championships, and a further two golds the following year at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Throughout her career, she's won an astounding 24 medals, 21 of which being gold.
When she's not competing, Hannah has a passion for charitable causes. In 2019 she was a contestant on the Stand Up to Cancer edition of the Great British Bake Off, and is an ambassador of Forget Me Not Children's Hospice. She also regularly uses Twitter to encourage aspiring para athletes and speak out against the injustices faced by wheelchair users.
Joy has been wowing the basketball world from an early age. In fact, she was the youngest member of the squad representing Great Britain in the 2014 Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championship, when she was just 15. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength, including being part of the winning team at the Women’s U25 World Champions in 2015, and helping take team GB to a record fourth place finish at Rio in 2016.
However, Joy has faced her fair share of obstacles and challenges over the years. She was adopted with her sister at the age of six after being abandoned outside an orphanage in China, and taken back the UK by her adoptive parents. Her spina bifida diagnosis meant she could not participate in PE at school, but this didn't deter Joy. She kept active, and one day she joined a family friend at their wheelchair basketball group, and the rest was history.
As well as being a star in her field, she's an inspiration off the court. She is an ambassador for Access Your Life, a resource that allows people with disabilities to read trusted reviews on accessible products. Joy also uses her Twitter and Instagram accounts to share her experiences and encourage others to give wheelchair basketball a go.
Hollie Arnold MBE
You may recognise this Paralympic star from I'm A Celeb. But when she's not eating creepy crawlies, she's wowing the world of field athletics. Hollie was the youngest ever athlete to compete in her field at the Paralympics, at just 14 years old, and was the youngest member of the whole team that year. She's since gone on to break several records and win seven gold medals throughout her javelin career, and is no doubt aiming to add another one to her collection this year.
Hollie is also incredibly charitable with her time, as she's the ambassador of two charities from her home town: St Andrew's Hospice and Caudwell Children. On top of this, she was the first person with an impairment to appear on I'm A Celeb, and was no doubt an inspiration to disabled fans of the show. Fans keep up to date with her latest news and media appearances on both her Twitter and Instagramaccounts.
This inspiring young woman began competing in wheelchair racing at the Paralympics when she was just 15. In her first games in Rio 2016, she won an impressive three medals; two bronze and one silver. As well as being a prominent Paralympian, Kare also broke the record set by her idol Hannah Cockroft at the Muller Anniversary Diamond League in 2018, at the age of just 17. On top of this, she won the Young Sports Personality of the Year award just a few months later, proving that there's simply no stopping this sports superstar.
Outside of her sporting life, Kare uses her platform to speak on a range of social justice issues. She regularly does talks at schools and charity events to educate others on disabilities by answering their questions. She also spoke passionately about the relationship between race and disability on Instagram Live with fellow black Paralympians Kadeena Cox and Anne Wafula Strike.
"The summer of sport isn't over yet, with the Paralympics in full swing. And if team GB can succeed in reaching the highs of the games in Rio 2016, we're all in for a treat! We know how hard all of the athletes in Great Britain work when representing their country, but that particularly goes for these five women, who go above and beyond our expectations.
"From learning to adapt to compete in disability sports like Kadeena Cox, to using their platform to educate and inspire social change like Kare Adenegan, it's safe to say that these women are national treasures both in the sport and in their personal lives. So this year, let's take the time to appreciate all the hard work and dedication they put in to their field, and cheer them on at Tokyo 2020."
- Peter Watton from OddsMonkey
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