RIGHT until the starting gun fires at the World Para Athletics Championships, Kare Adenegan will be telling herself: ‘I’ve been here before.’
The Coventry-born teenager is far from a veteran of her sport but is preparing for a third appearance at the Championships and will aim to add to a haul of five global medals in Dubai.
Adenegan – who made her debut on the world stage aged 14 – holidayed in the United Arab Emirates last summer so the prospect of the upcoming showpiece holds no fear whatsoever.
“I’m going to Dubai with a mindset that I’ve been there before and I know what to expect,” said the triple Paralympic medallist, who was announced as Great Britain’s team captain for the event.
“You’re able to perform a lot better when you don’t feel pressured, anxious or overwhelmed by the occasion. I’ve done a worlds, I’ve done a Paralympics and it feels quite normal for me.
“Just going out there last year and acclimatising a bit was really good. We’d actually booked the family holiday before we knew the worlds would be held there, but it ended up being useful.
“At my first worlds in Doha, I was so scared! I look back at videos and when the camera came onto me on the start line, I just looked really scared.
“Now, I just try and smile and just enjoy it.”
Last year was a golden one for the teenager – she broke the T34 100m world record at the Anniversary Games, was crowned European champion and named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.
Looking forward to travelling to Dubai, it’s too cold here and the rain.. 🙄 I’m getting soaked going to lectures... not long to go now 🌞 https://t.co/O0PYgHhdop— Kare Adenegan (@AdeneganK) October 15, 2019
Yet Adenegan believes it is in fact 2017 and the experience of competing at a home World Championships that will stand her in the strongest stead this week.
“London 2017 was such an amazing experience,” she said.
“We all had the support of the majority of the crowd and it was packed every night.
“I still feel kind of new in the sport but it’s actually been seven years and I’m not the new girl anymore! Experiences like London help a lot in dealing with the atmosphere and the expectation.”
Five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft joins Adenegan as defending T34 world champion, fuelling hope Britain will dominate the classification once again.
READ MORE: Hahn warming up for more world success
But before attention turned to reaching the rostrum the Coventry teenager had a huge hurdle to overcome – freshers’ week.
Adenegan has just enrolled at University of Warwick, moving into halls in September as a History and Philosophy undergraduate.
“It’s a good course because it’ll give me the chance to shape my studies around my training commitments,” she said.
“I didn’t party very hard at all in freshers! I just had to keep focused.
“I still enjoyed freshers but had to be mindful of what I’ve got coming. I’m not sure my housemates can really argue with the World Championships as an excuse.”
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