16 December 2018

Adenegan reflects on 'amazing' BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award

Wayne Rooney, Andy Murray and Kare Adenegan all have one thing in common – they’ve all scooped the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Yet despite their own personal success stories, neither Murray or Rooney can admit to having a 2018 quite as glittering as the 17-year-old sprint star.

In a season that saw the three-time Paralympic Games medallist smash a world record, secure a first European gold and race to a stunning victory at the Anniversary Games in London, even Adenegan herself could hardly believe just how much she’d accomplished.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Coventry-born racer was named in October as the 2018 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year to join an illustrious list of recipients that includes Paralympians Ellie Simmonds, Ellie Robinson and Josef Craig.

Despite all her achievements, Adenegan admitted to being blown away by the decision to award her the coveted Sports Personality trophy in front of a packed house at the Radio 1 Teen Awards.

“It was such an amazing experience receiving the award and I was actually quite excited to be on the lift up to the stage, and to see all those people out there watching was crazy,” she said.

“It has been such an amazing season and it definitely exceeded a lot of my expectations.

“To get my first senior gold, the world record, and to top it off with winning Young Sports Personality of the Year – it has just been a huge honour to be recognised.

Kare Adenegan races to T34 100m glory at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin (Picture: Ben Booth Photography)

“A lot of people have looked at my performances and thought that it’s been a really special year. To have all that support is so nice.

“It’s a huge honour because the award comes with so much prestige.

“To see my name alongside [previous winners] is really crazy to also know that people see that potential in me to go on and do great things as a senior athlete.”

Combining the fast lane of world record speed sprinting with time in the classroom as she targets a spot at university to study history, the five-time World Championship medallist rarely has a moment to reflect on her growing list of honours.

But when given the chance to look back on the year, Adenegan says she never quite imagined just how much she would achieve in a whirlwind year.

“I knew that my 100 metres had got stronger but I didn’t see a world record necessarily coming,” she said.

“I just wanted to have a good race and focus on executing it. When I got the world record, it was so cool.

“The Europeans were such a big event. I’d never done the European Championships before, so I really enjoyed it.

“To win my first senior gold medal there and set a new Championship record was fantastic.

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"It’s a huge honour because the award comes with so much prestige."

Kare Adenegan

“Even the 800 metres (Adenegan won silver); I was so pleased with my race. I can tell that I am learning and getting better at the 800 metres.

“It’s crazy. It was my sixth season this year, so I am getting to the point where I am experienced in my sport. It’s really good and I just plan to carry and achieve more.”

Adenegan is set to take on the world next November at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai – but her next biggest challenge lies waiting in the exam hall.

She added: “The World Champions are late in the year but I’ve also got my A-Level exams in the summer next year.

“I will probably be focusing on getting them out the way and then focusing on competing after

“It will all be catered towards the World Championships and making sure I am ready for that.

“To be a World Champion would be amazing. It’s such a massive stage ahead of the Paralympic Games, so to have a big result would be great.

“I’ve got lots of other focuses next year, so it’s just about keeping fit and doing my best.”

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