Hearing Kadeena Cox speak about her repeated struggle with her disability only highlighted her amazing hard work and natural ability. It was truly overwhelming to be able to engage with such a driven, young, successful female athlete and person who has not let anything prevent her from achieving the greatest sporting achievement known to man. Her modesty and intelligence were apparent throughout her whole talk to the school during assembly, but even more so in person. As I was asking her questions about her career and her choice to partake in an activity that we share love for, I could tell the sincerity of her determination. We talked about a sport which has shaped both of our lives and which we feel the same excitement about for a long time, especially about the feeling of riding a wooden velodrome and what it means to be a track cyclist.
Furthermore, what stood out to me was her infectious, positive attitude about working hard and sacrifice and this is what I took away from meeting her. Also, for her to talk about her experiences and her mindset to the whole school, I was proud to have such an outstanding woman talk and encourage a room full of girls from the ages of 11-18, who are still trying to figure out who they are, and could not help but think what an amazing role model we were able to look up to.
I was recently fortunate enough to meet Kadeena Cox, a GB parasport athlete who competes in T38 sprints and C4 para-cycling. She is a truly courageous and determined woman. As an all-girls school, I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone, that it was inspirational to hear the experiences of such a successful sports woman, as equality is an ever-growing focus. I am also involved in athletics, so it was especially insightful to hear about Kadeena’s time competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic games, where she got a new world record in the 400m. She told us about the restrictions a foreign country like Brazil can have on performing athletes. The team were not allowed to eat any seafood or fruit that didn’t have a peel on it, leaving Kadeena living off grilled chicken and bananas for weeks! I have competed internationally and know how hard training and competing in warm and humid conditions can be. Taking all these circumstances into account makes Kadeena’s victory’s even more remarkable.
Hearing Kadeena’s story about her transition from an able-bodied athlete to a Paralympian, and seeing how all her hard work and commitment awarded her with such phenomenal achievements, has made me even more motivated to reach this high level in my own sports, and hopefully win an Olympic medal one day too.
We had the amazing opportunity of meeting Kadeena Cox, one of the nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016. Just two years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she claimed 4 medals including two golds at Rio 2016 and became Britain’s first Paralympian for nearly three decades to win medals in two sports at the same Paralympics.
In our Y10 PE GCSE class, Kadeena shared her experience of the Paralympics and led us in a spinning lesson. She told us that she started her races in a higher gear than most of her competitors, meaning she needs to generate a lot of power to get herself away from the start line. As a result, her training mostly consists of high intensity drills. Kadeena wanted to show us what it was like to cycle in a high gear so we practiced starting a race from a stationary position on the spin bikes and continued to cycle on for 30 seconds in a high gear. It was a lot harder than we expected! Now we realise the strength and power it takes to be a Paralympic athlete.
Julianna & Millie Y10
During our GCSE PE lesson, Kadeena visited our class and we had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session where many of our classmates asked questions about her plans for the future. Afterwards we looked at her medals (2 gold, 1 silver, and 1bronze) and did the mannequin challenge. We all had a great time and feel very privileged to be able to meet such an amazing and inspirational athlete!
Bella & Charlotte Y11