Cockroft hopes London Diamond League boosts Para-sport

Britain's Hannah Cockroft celebrates at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
Hannah Cockroft won T34 100m and 200m gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games
Venue: London Stadium Date: Sunday, 23 July
Coverage: BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website & app 13:15-16:35 BST

Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft hopes Sunday’s London Diamond League can be the “start of things getting better again” for Para-sport.

The 30-year-old will be among the British stars competing in five Para-athletics events in front of a sell-out crowd of 50,000 at London Stadium.

It will be the largest audience Cockroft has competed in front of since the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

But she said support for her sport had declined since then.

“Post-2012, participation and coverage went through the roof, sponsorship improved massively,” said Cockroft, who won double gold at her home Games.

“We’re now 11 years on and I think we’re now probably back to where we were pre-2012.

“I hope tomorrow will change that.”

Cockroft will contest the 800m just a week after claiming her 14th world title at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Paris, an event which was streamed on YouTube.

The 800m world record-holder believes Sunday’s meeting at London Stadium can lead to progress for her sport, with the next Paralympics in Paris just one year away.

“I hope 50,000 people will sit and think ‘this is absolutely incredible’, and that they will buy tickets to come and watch and support us,” Cockroft said.

“I hope there are children in that crowd who watch what we can do and say ‘I want to do that’. That’s what getting out in front of that crowd is – it’s showing people what is possible for them.

“In 2012 and 2013 we had wall-to-wall coverage and every year since it has got worse. We keep getting told that people don’t want to watch, but they do. When it is put on TV, people tune in.

“I hope tomorrow is the start of things getting better again.

“With Paris next year, it is so close to home we can bring those crowds and I really hope we can outdo London 2012 because I don’t like sitting here still having to say London 2012 was my biggest Games.”

Follow live coverage of Sunday’s London Diamond League on BBC One, iPlayer and online from 13:15 BST.

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