GB Paralympic Star Hannah Cockroft speaks out on “Humiliating” Para-classification tests

Hannah Cockroft has revealed the physical tests para-athletes have to take to compete involve “sickening pain.”

The five-times Paralympic Champion and 10 times World Champion will have to get re-classified along with hundreds of other disabled athletes because the para-athletics classifications system is being revised from January 1.

Speaking to the BBC the 25-year-old opened up on her past experiences surrounding the testing.

She said: “I went into mine and they said ‘I need you to walk’ so I got up and walked and they said ‘no I need you to walk properly’. I said, well I am walking properly. ‘No, we need you to stand up straight.’ I said I can’t stand up straight, that’s my disability.

“You’re going through all these things literally to show that you are not standing there pretending to be disabled. It’s humiliating.”

Hannah kisses one of her five Paralympic Gold Medals (Photo HannahCockroft/Twitter)
Hannah kisses one of her five Paralympic Gold Medals (Photo HCDream2012/Twitter)

The T34 classification is one of eight for athletes with cerebral palsy, and one of four for athletes with cerebral palsy who use a wheelchair. Athletes in this class have hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis.

The athlete also spoke about the complexity of the tests and the pain that comes with them.

“I’ve had all the scans, MRI scans, CAT scans… I think my worst one was I had to have electrodes attached to my spine and then electric shocks sent up and down my legs to see which nerves worked, and that pain was sickening.

“People think you just put your doctors’ notes on the table and someone goes you’re a ‘T whatever you are’ but no, they push you around.”

Cockroft was named the Sunday Times Disability Sportswoman of the Year at the 30th edition of the Sportswomen of the Year awards in London on Thursday.