18 September 2019

Familiarity breeds content for Adenegan ahead of World Championships

Right until the starting gun fires at the World Para Athletics Championships, Kare Adenegan will be telling herself: ‘I’ve been here before.’

The 18-year-old is far from a veteran of her sport but is preparing for a third appearance at the Championships and will aim to add to a haul of five global medals in Dubai.

Adenegan – who made her debut on the world stage aged 14 – holidayed in the United Arab Emirates last summer so the prospect of November’s showpiece holds no fear whatsoever.

“I’m going to Dubai with a mindset that I’ve been there before and I know what to expect,” said the triple Paralympic medallist.

“You’re able to perform a lot better when you don’t feel pressured, anxious or overwhelmed by the occasion. I’ve done a worlds, I’ve done a Paralympics and it feels quite normal for me.

“Just going out there last year and acclimatising a bit was really good. We’d actually booked the family holiday before we knew the worlds would be held there, but it ended up being useful.

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I won't be able to party very hard at all next week

Kare Adenegan

“At my first worlds in Doha, I was so scared! I look back at videos and when the camera came onto me on the start line, I just looked really scared.

“Now, I just try and smile and just enjoy it.”

Last year was a golden one for the teenager – she broke the T34 100m world record at the Anniversary Games, was crowned European champion and named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Yet Adenegan believes it is in fact 2017 and the experience of competing at a home World Championships that will stand her in the strongest stead when November rolls around.

“London 2017 was such an amazing experience,” she said.

“We all had the support of the majority of the crowd and it was packed every night.

“I still feel kind of new in the sport but it’s actually been seven years and I’m not the new girl any more! Experiences like London help a lot in dealing with the atmosphere and the expectation.”

Five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft joins Adenegan as defending T34 world champion, fuelling hope Britain will dominate the classification once again.

But before attention turns to reaching the rostrum the Coventry teenager has a huge hurdle to overcome – freshers’ week.

Adenegan is bound for the University of Warwick, moving into halls on Sunday and soon after starting as a History and Philosophy undergraduate.

“It’s a good course because it’ll give me the chance to shape my studies around my training commitments,” she said.

“I won’t be able to party very hard at all next week! I’ll just have to keep focused.

“I’ll still enjoy freshers but I have to be mindful of what I’ve got coming. I’m not sure my housemates can really argue with the World Championships as an excuse.”

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