Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox was just weeks away from being “a force to be reckoned with” on the track, according to her mother.
The 30-year-old narrowly missed out on a medal in the T38 400 metres final in Tokyo, finishing fourth – in doing so she was unable to add to the golds she won in the cycling.
Cox, who won gold in both cycling and athletics in Rio five years ago, battled tendinitis in both Achilles ahead of the Games.
“I’m so proud of her because (of) what she achieved today. She knocked six seconds off what she went out with,” said her mother Jasmin Williams, 51, from Leeds.
“For her to achieve that… is something to be proud of.
“I think three more weeks and she would have been a force to be reckoned with. She just needed a little more time on the track.”
Cox said she was “very emotional” after the race, but added that she was happy overall with her performance.
“When you’ve got two Achilles that are sore, you can run through one but running through two is near impossible,” she said.
“Me and the therapy team worked so hard to get me to this point and I only started running on the track a week before selection.
“To turn it around six weeks later and come fourth in a massive season’s best, I’m happy – it’s just hard.”
Mrs Williams said she had spoken with her daughter afterwards, saying: “She was happy, I guess happy to talk to us!
“Her brothers and sisters and her auntie were all having a nice talk. It was just nice to talk to her.”
Leeds-born Cox, who has multiple sclerosis, will leave Japan with two golds having defended her C4-5 cycling time trial crown, along with victory in the mixed C1-5 sprint alongside Jaco Van Gass and Jody Cundy.
“For me it’s literally like you’re sitting with your heart in your mouth,” Mrs Williams said of watching her daughter compete.
“I know it’s something she loves so I try to relax.
“She was riding bikes from when she was literally about one. When she used to take off sometimes my heart usually skipped a beat.
“I’m shouting ‘hit the brakes!’ and she’d hit the brakes, look back at me and smile.
“I used to be so terrified of her going over the bars but she had this fearlessness about her when she used to ride off.
“I’m always going to be a mum. When they fall, you clean them up and stuff like that. I don’t think it will ever change, even as old as she is now.”