At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Karé Adenegan made her Commonwealth Games debut for Team England as a wheelchair racer, where she won Silver in the Women’s T33/34 100m race, sharing the podium with her England teammates Hannah Cockroft and Fabienne Andre. Having made her Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016, where Karé came away with Silver in the Women’s T34 100m race and Bronze in the Women’s T34 400m and 800m races, she once again competed for ParalympicsGB in Tokyo in 2020, winning Silver in the Women’s T34 100m and 800m races, and she’s hoping to make the team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. In 2019, Karé won Silver in the Women’s T34 100m and 800m races at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, and the previous year, she won her first senior international Gold medal at the Para World European Athletics Championships in Berlin for the Women’s T34 100m race. Karé was awarded the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2018, which she collected at BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards, and she currently trains at Coventry Godiva Harriers. Speaking to us, Karé talked about winning her Silver medal at her Commonwealth Games debut for Team England in Birmingham this year, her success at the Paralympic Games in Rio and Tokyo and competing at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
You’ve recently made your Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, where you won Silver in the Women’s T33/34 100m race, what was it like competing at your first Commonwealth Games and representing England in front of a home crowd?
It was such an honour to compete at the Commonwealth Games for Team England. It felt amazing to be so close to home, especially being born and raised in the West Midlands. The whole experience was phenomenal, there was a lovely atmosphere at the village and training venues.
How was it being part of an all-England podium with your English teammates Hannah Cockroft and Fabienne Andre and what was the race like to be part of?
I was very proud of my teammates, we all worked hard over the season and I knew that the clean sweep was possible. We got a huge cheer from the crowd and the support pushed us to a great result.
At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, you came away with Silver in the Women’s T34 100m and 800m races, what was it like winning your medals and how was it competing in Tokyo during the pandemic?
It was amazing to compete at the Tokyo Games and win two medals, especially after the pandemic. It had been two years since I’d last competed for the country. The experience was different to my last Games (Rio 2016). Obviously we had to be very careful due to COVID and had constant tests. But the Paralympic volunteers made all us athletes feel very welcomed and relaxed.
How did you prepare for the Tokyo Paralympics and how did you stay focused during the Games?
I prepared for the Games at the University of Warwick where I benefited from their new sports hub facilities and mondo athletics track. My aspirations for the Games kept me focused and I tried to view the extra year of preparations following the postponement of the Games, as an opportunity to grow as an athlete.
You won Silver in the Women’s T34 100m race and Bronze in the Women’s T34 400m and 800m races at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, what are some of your favourite memories from making your Paralympic debut in Rio and do you remember how you felt being selected to represent Great Britain?
I felt very excited when I was selected for Rio. After watching the London 2012 Games, it was my dream to go to the Paralympics, so I was just so happy to be in Rio. One of my favourite memories, apart from being on the podium, was attending the closing ceremony and eating pizza in the rain that night!
In 2019, you competed at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, winning Silver in the Women’s T34 100m and 800m races, how was your time competing in Dubai and what do you enjoy most about racing at the World Championships?
I really enjoyed competing in Dubai. It was a fast track so I made times that I was really proud of, and I also visited the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa after competing, which was fun.
Can you tell us what it was like winning your first senior international Gold medal at the 2018 Para World European Athletics Championships in Berlin in the Women’s T34 100m?
The Europeans was a great competition for me. It was a special moment to win a senior Gold for the first time and I felt that it reflected how hard I trained that year.
Do you have a favourite aspect of being a wheelchair racer and what are some of your stand-out highlights from your athletics career so far?
I enjoy the travelling aspect of being a wheelchair racer and also the opportunities I get to speak publicly about my athletics journey. My career highlights are definitely competing at two Paralympic Games and the Commonwealth Games because I love racing in front of big audiences whether that’s those watching in the crowd or from home.
Where does your love of racing come from and how did you get into it?
I got into wheelchair racing after watching the London 2012 Paralympic Games on TV. That’s also where the love of the sport came from, I was so inspired by the Games and was very intrigued by wheelchair racing particularly.
What is a typical training day for you and what is it like training at Coventry Godiva Harriers?
My training days vary, sometimes I’m on the track, on the rollers indoors, or in the gym and the sessions are mostly in the afternoon. I love training at Coventry Godiva Harriers because I have so much fun with my training partners; we train hard and laugh harder!
Have you been given any advice over your career as a wheelchair racer so far that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a young athlete starting out?
Paula Dunn, who was the previous British Para-Athletics Head Coach, told us to ‘find our why’ in a talk to the team a couple of years ago. That really stuck with me, it’s so important to know your motivations as that’s what keeps you in the sport. I would tell young athletes to be patient in their pursuit for success, because results don’t happen overnight. Results are built upon resilience and persistence.
How do you like to spend your time away from training and competing?
For the past ten years, I have studied at school and university alongside sport. So most of my time was spent on academic reading and essay writing. Now that I have graduated, I like to spend my free time on leisurely reading, watching Netflix and spending more time with family and friends.
How was it winning the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2018?
I was pleasantly surprised to win Young SPOTY and to be named amongst so many amazing young athletes. I was very excited to attend the BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards to receive my award. It was an enjoyable day and huge honour.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
My next target is to represent ParalympicsGB at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
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