The ParalympicsGB team is packed with some of the superstars of London 2012, as well as plenty of new faces hoping to bring home medals and world records. TeamGB’s record-breaking performance at the Olympic Games a few weeks ago, could be just the beginning. The British Paralympic Association chief, Tim Hollingsworth, has even been quoted stating that it is the ‘most competitive team ever’ heading to Rio. The excitement is well and truly building.
A team of 264 athletes will travel to Brazil, representing 19 different sports, and their target is to bring back a huge 121 medals. Channel 4 is the broadcast partner for the Paralympic Games with a stellar line up of presenters promising hours of sports programming for each of the 11 days of the Games. Even a Hollywood star – Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte – joins the presenting team.
Canoeing and the triathalon are two new sports for this year’s Paralympics, and with so many sports, great athletes and amazing events to be excited about, there’s a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks. Below we’vepicked out just a few events and occasions not to be missed, and we couldn’t help but be excited about Ellie Simmond’s return to the Paralympic pool and her third Paralympics!
Gordon Reid won the first ever Wimbledon men’s wheelchair singles and doubles this year. He is competing in Rio alongside his doubles partner Alfie Hewett. The tennis starts on 9 September and the ParalympicsGB team is made up of ten athletes including Reid and Hewett. After the storming success at Wimbledon, we are hopeful that ParalympicsGB will beat the London 2012 medal haul in tennis and bring home gold. In 2012 the tennis team managed a stunning silver and bronze, making the tennis one of the most hotly anticipated events for the British athletes.
Swimming - Ellie Simmonds
The swimming sensation that is Ellie Simmonds has wowed sports fans around the world at now two Paralympics Games, winning her first Paralympics medal when she was just 13 years old in Beijing. Her training involves swimming 28 miles a week, and her host of awards reinforce what an amazing athlete she is. Ellie’s races will be must-watch occasions for sports fans.
Ellie is part of a squad of 30 swimmers heading to Rio, including six who won gold at London 2012. A huge 20 members of the swimming squad have invaluable past Games experience too. At London 2012 Ellie set the World Record in the 400m freestyle whilst winning gold, and also took the gold in the 200m individual medley. In recent media interviews Ellie has confessed to not liking being wet all the time and having a fear of swimming in open water, all of which makes her medals even more powerful. Good luck Ellie!
Running - Libby Clegg
If Ellie Simmonds is the face of Paralympics success, then Libby is the face of anticipation. She already holds silver medals from the T12 100m at both the Beijing and London Paralympic Games, and is gunning for gold in Rio. Breaking the world record in the T11 200m at the Anniversary Games in London last year, Libby has recently changed her guide runner and now must run blindfolded in a new category due to her deteriorating sight. With these recent changes and challenges, the nation is behind Libby as she aims for her first Paralympic gold.
Equestrian Lee Pearson could become Britain’s greatest Paralympian if he adds three more gold medals to the nine that he has already won over the last three Paralympic Games. The record of 11 is currently held by swimmer David Roberts and athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.
There are five riders in the ParalympicsGB Equestrian team who share a total of 30 Paralympic medals between them, before Rio. The Equestrian team also features five-time gold medallist Anne Dunham who at 67 is the oldest member of the GB team in Rio. With an unbeaten record at European, World and Paralympic level since the sport debuted at the Atlanta Paralympic Games in 1996, the Equestrian ParalympicsGB team is a force to be reckoned with.
And finally, the Last Leg: Live in Rio
Each evening of the Rio Paralympics the live TV show that started at the London 2012 Paralympics will bring humour, issues and medal winning athletes all together. Presented by Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, the Last Leg Rio specials will air every night of the Games at 8pm on Channel 4. Sure to be a highlight of the Paralympic Games, the Last Leg will be followed by live action throughout the Olympic Park until the early hours of the morning.
Don’t forget to watch the powerful Channel 4 trailer for their Paralympics coverage, We’re the SuperhumansOpens in new window , to feel inspired. You can share your good luck messages with the ParalympicsGB team in Rio on social media using the hashtag #supercharge. Good luck ParalympicsGB!
Photo credits: onEdition