A momentous year for Paralympic sprint champion Sophie Hahn was capped in suitably memorable style when she was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours on Friday.
The 19-year-old was awarded an MBE for services to athletics after winning T38 100m gold in Rio in September as well as relay silver in the 4x100m on her Paralympic debut.
Sophie, a former Brooksby Melton College student, demolished the Paralympic 100m record by almost a second in the heats, clocking 12.62secs, just two-hundredths of a second shy of her own world record.
“I was very shocked to be chosen for the honours list and very proud,” she said. “This year has been incredible.
“It was a nice way to end a fantastic year and I have to thank my coach Joe McDonnell and my family for their help.”
While training to become a world-beating athlete is predictably tough, keeping news of an MBE quiet for more than a month before the official announcement can also be tricky.
“I got a letter through the post in November telling me I was in the New Year’s Honours list for services to athletics,” Sophie added.
“We weren’t allowed to tell anyone and it was highly confidential so it was quite hard to keep it a secret.
“My mum and dad had to help me fill out the (acceptance) forms and I told my brothers, but no-one else.”
In completing her long-awaited Paralympic mission, the GB athlete completed a clean sweep of major international medals at the distance.
Having retained her world title in November 2015, she then become European champion for the first time in a remarkable 12 months.
When asked if this was the best year of your life, Sophie agreed, but with the important addition ‘so far’. So how do you top it?
After just a couple of days off for Christmas, she is in the thick of winter training and heads off to Tenerife for a warm weather training camp with the British team this weekend.
The outdoor season begins with a trip to Dubai in March and builds up to the IPC World Athletics Championships, run alongside the IAAF World Championships, in London, this summer.
Sophie added: “The worlds are the big target this year and I’d still like to go faster and get better.
“I think London this year is going to be incredible and it will come around fast I’m sure.”