Two Paralympic golds, two world records, one silver medal and one bronze in four starts – and she has MS
A Paralympic athlete who now also competes as a cyclist and has multiple sclerosis, has gained a medal in each of the four events in which she took part.
Kadeena Cox, 25, won two golds, each with a world record time, one silver and one bronze. She was due to have taken part in a fifth event yesterday but an injury forced her to withdraw without starting.
Nevertheless, the medals she has won means she is the first Paralympic competitor to win medals in two different sports since 1988. Even more special is the fact that she won her first gold medal as a cyclist and her second as a track athlete.
Just a handful of years ago, Kadeena was a promising able-bodied sprinter competing in the athletics’ test event for London 2012 Olympics but in 2014 she suffered a stroke before being diagnosed with MS.
The young athlete set her mind on chasing Paralympic gold in Rio – which she has achieved in style.
She admitted: “Without my sport I would have crumbled. I was driven to succeed and it made me battle through the tough times.”
Despite the diagnosis, Kadeena was able to continue running, but with slower times, and in addition she took up track cycling as it aided her recovery.
“I got straight back into running, I just couldn’t deal with how slow I was going. But then taking on the cycling helped that a lot,” she said.
A member of the British team, Kadeena took athletic bronze in the T38 100m last Friday (October 9), her first gold in Rio was achieved the next day when she won the track cycling C4-5 time-trial. Her second gold was back on the athletic track on Wednesday in the T38 400m then, on Thursday, she won team silver in the T35-38 4x100m relay.
Yesterday, she was due to get back on the bike for the C4-5 road race but, disappointingly, had to pull out before the start with a hamstring problem.
Still as the Rio Paralympic Games comes to an end, Kadeena Cox will return home to Leeds as a double Paralympic champion in two different sports, and a double world record holder, also in two different sports. Added to that, she has both a silver and bronze medal to her name.
And, remember, she has done all this despite having multiple sclerosis which, as we who have that disease know full well, can cause fatigue and is likely to worsen over time.
Well done, Kadeena, all of us who live with MS are proud of you. In fact, all of us with any disability are proud of you.
Connected to, but separate from, this story is the sad news that an Iranian cyclist has died after a crash during a road race at the Paralympics in Rio. Bahman Golbarnezhad was treated at the scene and then suffered cardiac arrest as he was taken to hospital and later passed away.
The crash took place on a mountainous stretch as he was going down a steep hill during the men’s C4-C5 race for athletes with lower limb impairments or amputations. It was the women’s version of this race that Kadeena Cox was prevented from starting by a hamstring injury.