Sophie Hahn: I was hoping to do 12.6 at the Paralympics”

Sophie Hahn (left) with the gold medal-winning British relay team EMN-150411-100731002

Sophie Hahn (left) with the gold medal-winning British relay team EMN-150411-100731002

0
Have your say

Double world champion Sophie Hahn admitted her stunning 100m world record performance came a year ahead of schedule.

Hahn arrived back home on Monday morning with three medals in her suitcase following a successful IPC Athletics World Championships in the desert heat of Qatar.

She capped her campaign by winning a second gold of the nine-day event in the 4x100m relay on Saturday, having claimed a silver medal in the 200m last Thursday behind Margarita Goncharova.

But the performance that got everyone talking came on the opening day of action when she sensationally shaved four-tenths of a second off her own world record to retain her T38 100m title.

She told the Melton Times: “I felt quite good. I had a few block starts which went well and thought if I can get another start like that I have a shot.

“I had a rough idea of 12.9 or 12.8, but never 12.6. When I crossed the line there was a big screen in front of us and I saw the time.

“I thought ‘where did that come from’?

“It was the perfect race. I was happy with my start and left them from 30 metres out.

“I was hoping to go 12.6 next year at the Paralympics so now I have to up my game and try for 12.4 or 12.5!”

Hahn burst onto the scene when she won gold two years ago in Lyon and was hot favourite this time round in Doha.

Yet the 18-year-old was not taking anything for granted.

“I thought Margarita was going to train really hard and come back strongly so when I stood on the start line I was thinking ‘can I win this?’ ” she said.

“When you stand at the blocks you’re trying not to worry about your rivals and stay focussed on how you’re going to race. It’s easy to get distracted.”

Goncharova, a good friend off the track, gained her revenge in the 200m, breaking the world record to take gold in 26.61.

While Hahn sees any other colour than gold as a disappointment, she was satisfied with her performance.

In pushing her Russian rival close she lowered her personal best by almost half-a-second to 26.8secs – the second-fastest time in history.

“I thought winning the gold would be really hard, but I was happy with the time.

“In the last 15 metres I didn’t have the endurance that Margarita has over 400m so I think I need a bit more time in the gym and more experience.”

Despite making global headlines in her own right, the former Brooksby Melton College student’s personal championship highlight was winning relay gold with team-mates Olivia Breen, Maria Lyle, and Georgie Hermitage.

“It was quite close from the start to the third leg. Then Georgie ran a fantastic bend which gave me a bit of a gap and I was able to stretch away on the last leg.”

It was a fitting end to an almost perfect season for the 18-year-old, but Hahn will not rest on her laurels for long when her ultimate ambition is still to be achieved.

Next summer, fitness allowing, she will head into the Paralympics as one of Britain’s brightest hopes.

But with new targets for 2016 in mind, the long road to Rio, still 307 days away, must begin soon in wintry Loughborough.

“I will have a month off the track, but next week I’ll be back in the gym and build up for next year,” she added.

“I’m nor going to think about Rio for now, but when I go back to training I will be going 110 per cent towards the Games.”