Paralympic Athlete Hannah Cockroft Accuses Adidas & Nike Of Discrimination

Paralympic Athlete Hannah Cockroft Accuses Adidas & Nike Of Discrimination

British Paralympic athlete Hannah Cockroft has accused Adidas and Nike of discrimination after she claims the companies denied her an individual sponsorship deal because she doesn’t wear shoes when she competes.

The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, is competing in the 100m, 400m and 800m events during the Paralympic Games at Rio. She is tipped to win golds after she won two golds at London 2012 and three in last year’s world championships.

The athlete told The Guardian reporter Jacob Steinberg that Nike and Adidas both denied her individual sponsorship. Cockroft said: “I have been told it’s because I don’t wear shoes when I compete. What do I do with that? I wear a shirt, I wear trousers, I wear shoes on the podium when I’m collecting a gold medal. But apparently because that’s not when I’m competing that’s not enough. I’ve been told this by Nike, Adidas, all the big brands. I told them it was discrimination. It is discrimination.

“It’s frustrating because it’s not my fault that I don’t wear shoes,” she said. “I still get on the track and I still go fast. It shouldn’t really matter what’s on my feet when I’m doing that. In my head, when an athlete gets a kit sponsor, that’s when you’ve made it. On Twitter everyone is either a Nike athlete or an Adidas athlete. I feel like if someone wants to have you as their athlete and wear their kit for every training session and every competition, that’s when you are a true elite athlete.”

Nike and Adidas have responded to Cockroft’s accusations. A Nike spokesperson said: “Nike has a long history of working with Olympians and Paralympians who do not compete in Nike footwear, from Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, to six-times gold medal-winning Paralympian David Weir.”

Adidas also rejected Cockroft’s claims. “As a sports brand we have partnerships with teams, including ParalympicsGB, and individuals across both apparel and footwear,” a spokesperson said. “Whilst we will not discuss negotiations with specific athletes we can say we sponsor a number of athletes who don’t wear footwear to compete.”

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