Cox aims to inspire fellow black athletes

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By BBC

Double Paralympic medallist Kadeena Cox hopes her achievements in Rio can inspire fellow black athletes.

The Briton, who had a stroke aged 23 which led to her being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), won athletics bronze in the T38 100m and gold in cycling’s C4-5 time trial.

“I am in a small minority as a black female with a disability,” she said.

“But I’ve shown that even with conditions like MS, it’s not the setback that it has to be.”

In winning cycling gold in a world record time, the 25-year-old from Leeds became the first Briton since 1988 to win a medal in two sports at the same Paralympics.

Isabel Barr was the last Briton to achieve that feat, with medals in the shooting and athletics in Seoul.

Cox, who said she celebrated winning bronze on the track by spending the next day “plaiting people’s hair and watching [the film] Coach Carter”, now wants to inspire the next generation of Para-athletes from different backgrounds.

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“There is nothing to be afraid of – just come out and show what you’ve got,” she said.

“I’ve come out here and done it, I’m nothing special. You just have to have heart, passion, determination and self-belief.”

“I really think Kadeena Cox’s success could start a seismic shift in Paralympic, as well as Olympic, cycling and encourage more black athletes to try the sport.

“Given the obvious sprint power many black athletes are able to generate in track and field events, I know there are many in cycling who feel it would be a natural shift.

“To date I think it’s been a cultural problem – much like we’ve seen traditionally in swimming, which is dominated by white athletes.

“However, that has begun to change in recent Games and in particular the Rio Olympics where USA’s Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic swimming gold.

“Will cycling be the next sport to benefit from a change in views and attitudes towards old ‘traditions’ in sport?”

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