With 8 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, ParalympicsGB are ready to compete at their most competitive Games ever at Rio 2016.
Last week’s confirmed that a total of 264 athletes will take to the field of play to represent ParalympicsGB in 19 of the 22 Paralympic sports on offer in Rio, a figure which includes guides, pilots and competition partners.
The team will be striving towards UK Sport’s target of 121 medals – one more than London 2012 – but head to Rio with confidence, and 43 World Championships gold medals amongst the ParalympicsGB team.
Canoe and triathlon join the programme for Rio and British athletes have excelled over this cycle winning numerous World and European titles. In canoe, British athletes have qualified a maximum number of six slots and in triathlon GB qualified more athletes than any other nation.
The youngest athlete on the team will be swimmer Abby Kane, who turned 13 in August. Anne Dunham MBE will be the oldest member of the team at 67, bringing four Games worth of experience to a world class team of equestrian riders looking to maintain their unbeaten record in the Team event.
The most decorated athlete on the team is Dame Sarah Storey who has won 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals in swimming and cycling since making her Games debut at Barcelona 1992. She is Great Britain’s most successful female Paralympian. Wheelchair basketball player Simon Munn matches her experience as the two athletes will mark their seventh Games in Rio, more than any other athlete on the team.
Approximately 50 percent of athletes will be competing at their first Games, while 72 percent will attend their first away Games. Four percent of the team, or 11 athletes, come from a military background, with seven of those benefitting from the Front Line to Start Line programme coordinated by the BPA and Help for Heroes.
A number of athletes, including co-captain of the wheelchair basketball team Sophie Carrigill, triathlon’s World and European multi-medallist Melissa Reid and wheelchair fencers Piers Gilliver and Dimitri Coutya benefitted from the BPA’s Paralympic Inspiration Programme during London 2012 to experience the unique environment of the Games for themselves and to support their development through to Rio. Another cohort of 21 aspiring athletes will travel to Brazil as they set their sights on Tokyo 2020.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games opens on Wednesday September 7 and will come to a close on September 18.