Kare Adenegan: Birmingham 2022 integrated para programme will mean "people see para sport in a different way"
Coventry para sprinter Kare Adenegan says she hopes to inspire the next generation of para athletes as she sets her sights on competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will have the biggest para sport programme in Games history.
The triple Paralympic medallist and seven-time world medallist said that despite having to focus on her degree, she’s looking forward to competing at the Commonwealth Games for the first time, after Birmingham 2022 confirmed the inclusion of the 100m T34 event.
Kare is currently starring in Birmingham 2022’s latest campaign alongside other elite athletes who have an association with the West Midlands. Speaking to Birmingham 2022 to mark International Day of People with Disabilities, Kare said:
“It’s really exciting to be able to race in front of such a big stage. [The integrated programme] means that we actually have a new audience. We’ve got an audience that hasn’t seen para sport before, so it gives us an opportunity to reach out to new people and they can see para sport in a different way.
“The same way that I saw Hannah [Cockroft, at London 2012] and was left inspired, that’s what we want to do: try and get more people in the sport. That’s really important. For the next Commonwealth Games, we’ll have a new generation of athletes.”
Kare was born in Coventry and has spent most of her life in Warwickshire, having trained at the University of Warwick and is studying there too. As such, her Commonwealth Games debut will mean a great deal more to her being on home turf:
“Because I’m from the West Midlands, it’s just even more special. I’ve never had the opportunity to compete in the West Midlands at such a high level. My dad was actually born in Birmingham, so I’ve got that link even though I’m from Coventry.
“I hope people will see Birmingham as a very diverse city, a really welcoming, vibrant and modern city. I just hope people will be excited about being there.”
Kare Adenegan took up wheelchair racing at the age of 11 after witnessing the remarkable strength of para athletes like Hannah Cockroft at the London 2012 Paralympics:
“That was the first time I saw wheelchair racing properly, so I was really inspired by it and I wanted to take it up. I was quite fortunate that literally 10 minutes away from where I live, at the University of Warwick track, there was a wheelchair racing group that was training, so it all worked out quite well.”
Just four years later, and aged just 15, Kare raced her way to a silver and two bronze medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Since then, Kare has mastered juggling training and studying; she went straight from Rio to preparing for her GCSE’s, and after sitting her A Levels, Kare was heading to the World Championships. She’s currently balancing her training with a degree in history at the University of Warwick.
And as she looks to the future, Kare is confident that she can stay focussed throughout the final weeks of 2020 and come out the other side ready to take on her next challenge:
“I’m just enjoying the process and knowing that it’s a journey. I’ve got the Paralympics next year and the Commonwealth Games the year after, there’s lots of time so I’m just going to enjoy training.”
Kare Adenegan features in our latest campaign, joined by elite male and female athletes who each have an association with the West Midlands.
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