Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft has said more children with disabilities should take up sports in school.
The Paralympics GB wheelchair racer has been made an OBE after claiming two golds in her T34 category, the 800m and 100m, beating her own world record in the process at the Tokyo Games in September.
The 29-year-old from Halifax said she would like to see more young people in the country following in the footsteps of Paralympians.
Cockroft said: “The more I can go out there and win, hopefully more girls see me do it and decide to give the sport ago, that’s the most important thing for me.
“I was 15 when I started wheelchair racing, I was a girl who didn’t do PE at school, I didn’t do sport growing up.
“And I hate that there are still children with disabilities in this country who are in the same boat who don’t do PE at school because they’re not allowed.
“So, the more we can get the Paralympics on TV, not just myself some of the other amazing athletes that are gonna be on the New Year Honour’s List, the more we can put them out there, the more kids we can get into sport and hopefully following our footsteps.”
Cockroft has five world records, seven Paralympic gold medals and 12 world championship titles, making her one of Britain’s most successful athletes ever.
She won gold in the 100m and 200m at the London Games nine years ago and has since become a world record holder in her field.
Cockroft added: “I think this OBE is massive honour for me, I was awarded an MBE just after London 2012 and it’s been a very busy few years since then, almost 10 which makes me feel ancient.
“I just think to get the recognition after what happened in that time, I went to London 2012 as a face that no-one really knew, I’d been to one World Championship, it was my first Paralympic Games.
“So to still be here 10 years down-the-line, still winning gold in the same event, still topping of the podium, I don’t really think many athletes can say that.
“And I don’t think I really appreciate that a lot of time, I just get on with it and think ‘that’s great that I’ve managed to do that’ and I definitely expect it of myself.
“But to actually get recognised and to get this honour which recognised 10 years later I’m still on the top of that podium is a huge privilege.”