Tag Archives: wheelchair

Rio Olympics 2016: British athletes followed by Sportsmail

We're on the road to Rio! Meet the seven young British athletes who Sportsmail will follow all the way to the Olympics in 2016

, these seven athletes are aiming to follow in their footsteps.

Sportsmail seven for Rio

1 HARRY BROWN

Sport: Wheelchair basketball

Age: 18

Where are you from

I was born in Halifax in Yorkshire and brought up there as well. I’ve lived there my whole life with my two brothers and the rest of my family.

Tell us about your sport…

I lost my legs to meningitis when I was two years old. When I was eight, my mum got a job in Asda and one of the people at the store played in the local wheelchair basketball team. He started talking about basketball and that’s how it began. I play for the Sheffield Steelers and am part of the Team GB squad.

Who was your hero growing up

In my family my grandad has helped me hugely. He always helps drive me to training and he enjoys watching me play.

Wheels of steel: Basketball player Harry Brown stars for the Sheffield Steelers and Team GB

Wheels of steel: Basketball player Harry Brown stars for the Sheffield Steelers and Team GB

What were you doing during London 2012

I wasn’t playing but me, my mum, my two brothers and my grandad all went down to watch the Paralympics.

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I’d definitely like a medal, but I don’t know how high we can go. Realistically I think we could get into the gold medal game.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

When I was little me and my older brother used to collect Buddha statues and it became a tradition to bring back a family Buddha if you’d been away. The biggest one is about twice the size of a basketball — he’s just outside my bedroom.

VIDEO Harry Brown on his Road to Rio 2016

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2 SALLY BROWN

Sport: Paralympic athletics

Age: 17

Where are you from

I live in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, with my mum, dad and little sister. It’s a tiny village in the middle of nowhere.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a sprinter and I run the 100 metres and 200m in the T46 classification. When I was born, my left arm wasn’t fully developed and has stayed that way. This year I’ve moved up to 400m as well. The ultimate dream for me would be to compete across both the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Sally Brown

Sally Brown

Flying the flag: Spritner Sally Brown has targeted a medal in Rio in three years' time

Who was your hero growing up

When I was younger I ran cross- country so I looked up to Paula Radcliffe. Recently Jess Ennis has become another hero of mine.

What were you doing during London 2012

I competed in the 100m and 200m. I didn’t run as well as I’d hoped to. I was injured and only started running in April. The experience was amazing but really scary.

Previous: Brown competed at the London Olympics in the 100m and 200m

Previous: Brown competed at the London Olympics in the 100m and 200m

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio

I’d definitely like to win a medal. I’ll be 21 and nearing my peak. My aim is to go there and be in the top three for at least one of my events.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I’m dating Jonnie Peacock (T44 Paralympic gold medallist in the 100 metres). It became official after the Paralympics but we were really good friends before that.

VIDEO Sally Brown on her Road to Rio 2016

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3 CHRIS MEARS

Sport: Diving

Age: 20

Where are you from

I’m from Reading, born and bred. I live with my parents but spend most of my week in Southampton, where I train.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a diver, specialising in the 3m springboard individual and synchro events. When I was seven my parents were fed up with me trying to do somersaults on the sofa, so they took me to the local pool to take my anger out.

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Head over heels: Chris Mears hopes to replicate Tom Daley's achievements on the diving board

Who was your hero growing up

When I was nine I started training in Southampton and looked up to Pete Waterfield. He’s been an inspiration, getting to be one of the best in the world. It’s great now as he’s my training partner. He’s a good friend — and an old man!

What were you doing during London 2012

I was diving and reached the final. It was the best experience of my life. On my last dive, the board was shaking because the crowd was so loud. I could feel the vibrations and was so scared but I pulled off the best dive of my life. I almost died on an operating table a few years ago from a ruptured spleen so it’s incredible what happened.

In the medals: Mears (right) enjoyed a successful start to the year at the British Gas Diving Championships

In the medals: Mears (right) enjoyed a successful start to the year at the British Gas Diving Championships

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

It depends on so much but I would really like a medal. I will train hard and hopefully it will be possible.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I recently posed naked for Gay Times magazine. I’m used to being almost naked the rest of the time so it was no big deal. I’ve had lots of good feedback.

VIDEO Chris Mears on his Road to Rio 2016

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4 ADAM GEMILI

Sport: Athletics

Age: 19

Where are you from

I was born in London but moved to Kent aged two when my sister was born. I’ve been in the same house for 17 years. There are four of us there — me, my mum, dad and sister.

Tell us about your sport…

I run the 100m and 200m and the sprint relay. After being a footballer, I started training full time last January and got quicker as the year went on. At the World Junior Championships in Barcelona I won the gold medal in the 100m.

Adam Gemili

Adam Gemili

Sprint king: Adam Gemili shot to prominence last year and earned a place at the London Olympics

Who was your hero growing up

Michael Owen was the biggest. He was a great player but it was the way he looked after his family. I really respected him.

What were you doing during London 2012

I was competing for Team GB in the 100m and the relay. I reached the London 2012 100m semi-final and missed out on the final by 0.04 seconds. It was the best experience of my life. I competed in a lane next to eventual silver medallist Yohan Blake and I was in a race with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

Brit special: Gemili is poised to be the next sprint sensation from these shores

Brit special: Gemili is poised to be the next sprint sensation from these shores

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I want to be up there alongside the world’s best sprinters, running around 9.7sec regularly. If I’m still progressing the way I am, hopefully I’ll win gold.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I do yoga to help with my flexibility. I started doing it just before the summer and do it twice a week. It helps a lot with peace of mind.

VIDEO Adam Gemili on his Road to Rio 2016

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5 KATARINA JOHNSON-THOMPSON

Sport: Athletics

Age: 20

Where are you from

I spent the first year of my life in the Bahamas because my dad, Ricardo, is Bahamian. My mum, Tracey, is from Liverpool — she was a showgirl and used to dance all around the world — and we moved back when I was one to live with my nan, who ran a pub in the city.

Tell us about your sport…

Mum wanted me to dance so she pushed me — like, literally, when I was in a nappy — into lessons. I was a tomboy though, so I hated it. I then went through a number of different things — football, but they wanted me to be in goal, then keyboard, then ice skating. I didn’t really get into athletics until the summer of 2005 but I loved it. Now I do the heptathlon.

Dressed to impress: Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a promising start to her Olympic career in London

One to watch: Katarina Johnson-Thompson has made an encouraging start to her athletics career

What were you doing during London 2012

I came 15th — I certainly didn’t expect that. I told my nan I would probably come last because I was just happy to be there. I see it as a bonus because in September 2011 I was still having injections in my left knee, my take-off leg for high jump and long jump. They wouldn’t let me jog until November, so my training was really compromised and, at the start of 2012, all of my personal bests added up didn’t meet the Olympic qualifying standard.

Who was your hero growing up

Carolina Kluft. She was the queen of the heptathlon for so long. Also Usain Bolt, because 2008 was the first Olympics I watched.

Best of British: Johnson-Thompson (left) celebrates with Olympic champion Jessica Ennis

What are your dreams and hopes for Rio 2016

It’s always been about Rio for me, but I’m still only going to be 23 in 2016 which, for a heptathlete, is really young. At the 2020 Olympics I’ll be the same age as Jess was when she won in London.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

Everyone always used to think Daley Thompson was my dad. In the European juniors I finished the competition and this girl came up to me and said: ‘My father competed with your father in the Olympics.’ No he didn’t!

VIDEO Katarina Johnson-Thompson on her Road to Rio 2016

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6 REBECCA JAMES
Sport: Cycling

Age: 21

Where are you from

I’m from Abergavenny but have lived in Altrincham since July 2010. My mum and my dad are in Wales with my five brothers and sisters.

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a sprint cyclist. I do the team sprint, the 500m time trial, the individual sprint and the keirin. I started off in year six, then joined the Welsh talent programme at 13. After finishing my A-levels I trained with Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton. The Commonwealth Games in Delhi is my highlight so far, coming up against Anna Meares.

Sprint queen: Rebecca James

Sprint queen: Rebecca James

Who was your hero growing up

I began by following Nicole Cooke and really looked up to her. Then when I got on to the track it was all about Chris Hoy. He is so great to train with and an inspiration.

What were you doing during London 2012

An achilles injury and then appendicitis meant I missed lots of training so didn’t make London 2012. I did go down one day for when Chris won the keirin and I’m glad I did so I could sample the atmosphere.

What are your hopes and dreams for Rio 2016

I want to be stood on top of the podium. I want that feeling having seen everyone else up there. I want to help Jess Varnish get over her heartbreak of missing out on a medal in London too and our form is looking good.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I love to bake. Every Thursday I bring lots of cake to the velodrome. I’m addicted to The Great British Bake Off. My trademark dish is caramel slices.

VIDEO Rebecca James on her Road to Rio 2016

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7 MAX WHITLOCK

Sport: Gymnastics

Age: 20

Where are you from

I was born in Hemel Hempstead and I still live there now but I train in Basildon in Essex. I live with my parents and I’ve got an older brother Ben who is a landscape gardener.

Brit special: Max Whitlock

Brit special: Max Whitlock

Tell us about your sport…

I’m a gymnast. I started doing it aged seven. When I was nine I was put into a squad and it’s moved on from there. I do all six disciplines but the pommel horse is my best and favourite.

What were you doing during London 2012

I was competing and I won two bronze medals — in the team event and pommel horse. I wasn’t expecting to win anything but to be part of the first British team to win a gymnastics medal in 100 years was amazing. I haven’t really done anything special yet with my medals — they are just on the sofa at home!

Who was your hero growing up

I really didn’t have one. I didn’t even have posters on my walls, nothing. I know that is unusual.

What are your dreams and hope for Rio 2016

Getting there will be tough. There were 15 of us going for five places in London and it will be more now. Assuming I do, I want to get medals in the pommel and all-round.

Tell us something interesting about yourself…

I swam a lot when I was young and had to pick between that and gymanstics when I was nine.

VIDEO Max Whitlock on his Road to Rio 2016

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Lottery

As well as funding the Road to Rio athletes, every week National Lottery players raise over 30 million for arts, heritage, charity, community projects and grass roots sports clubs and facilities. Find out where your money goes at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

Jessica Ennis beats Mo Farah to British Athlete of the Year award

Golden girl Ennis beats Farah to British Athlete of the Year gong

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UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 18 October 2012

Heptathlete Jessica Ennis and wheelchair racer David Weir rounded off a golden year of success by being voted British Olympic and Paralympic Athlete of the Year.

Athletics fans voted for Ennis, the Olympic heptathlon champion, and Weir, who won four golds at the Paralympics, as their stars of 2012.

Ennis secured 48 per cent of the vote, beating double Olympic champion Mo Farah by just 4 per cent, while Weir also collected 48 per cent of the vote, narrowly pipping double gold medallist Hannah Cockroft to the post, UK Athletics said.

Close call: Ennis edged out Farah by just four per cent in the vote

Close call: Ennis edged out Farah by just four per cent in the vote

An 80,000 capacity crowd at London's Olympic Stadium watched Ennis, of Sheffield, take gold in a new British record score of 6955.

'Thank you to all of the UK Athletics fans for voting me the British Olympic Athlete of the Year – what an honour,' she said.

Four-some: Weir, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon

Four-some: Weir, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon

'The support of all the athletics fans is so important for us athletes and this year especially – your support at all the events running up to London was so important. What a great year 2012 has been!'

Weir, 33, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon to go alongside the two golds he picked up in the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

Weir, of Wallington, Surrey, said: 'It's a great honour to have been voted British Paralympic Athlete of the Year, especially considering that Great Britain had a number of athletes that won gold medals and performed so well in London.

'It's been such a great year for me and my success at the Paralympics is something that I will always remember.

'To have my performances recognised by athletics fans across the country is a great way to end the year.'

Wilson Kipsang wins Great North Run

Kenyan Kipsang pips fellow countryman Kogo on the line to win Great North Run

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UPDATED:

11:52 GMT, 16 September 2012

Wilson Kipsang snatched victory from fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo in the Great North Run thanks to a dramatic sprint finish that went right to the line.

Kipsang, who won the London marathon earlier this year and claimed bronze over the same distance at the Olympic Games, pipped Kogo to the victory in the last 20 metres in a time of 59 minutes and six seconds.

Ethiopia's Imana Merga finished third and Chris Thompson was the highest-placed Briton in sixth with a time of 61 minutes.

Taking it on the line: Wilson Kipsang wins the Men's 2012 Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle

Taking it on the line: Wilson Kipsang wins the Men's 2012 Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle

In the women's race, Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba powered to victory on her half marathon debut.

The three-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion, who became the first athlete to retain the Olympic 10,000 metres title this summer, saw off the challenge of 2011 world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat and 2012 Olympic Games marathon champion Tiki Gelana to claim the victory.

Pushed all the way: Kipsang celebrates winning Great North Run ahead of fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo

Pushed all the way: Kipsang celebrates winning Great North Run ahead of fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo

Dibaba finished with a time of 67 minutes 35 seconds, just outside of the symbolic 67-minute mark.

Briton Jo Pavey finished in fifth place, just outside of her personal best.
Canadian Josh Cassidy won his third Great North Run in the men's wheelchair event by some distance.

Cassidy finished in a time of 43 minutes 18 seconds, a clear six minutes ahead of Britain's Phil Hogg in second place, with Ross Low claiming third.

London 2012 Paralympics: Road to Rio

Road to Rio 2016: So what do we have to look forward to in four years

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 9 September 2012

Split on the cards

David Prince broke the T44 400m world record in 50.61sec to take bronze but was five seconds off Oscar Pistorius’s T43 best of 45.30sec. Prince says the combined class favours those with two amputations. Keeping them together ensures a deep pool of talent, splitting them may mean a fairer field.

Rivalries will continue

The youthful head-to-heads we have seen in London will develop. Jonnie Peacock, 19, has challengers Richard Browne, 21, and Alan Oliveira, 20, while Ellie Simmonds and Victoria Arlen, both 17, have shared three thrilling races. 'I look forward to racing her in the future,' Arlen said.

Rivalries: Eleanor Simmonds and Victoria Arlen are set to battle it out for years

Rivalries: Eleanor Simmonds and Victoria Arlen are set to battle it out for years

Who gets the funding

UK Sport channelled 49,254,386 of Lottery and Government funding into Paralympic sports in the last four years and have committed the same amount for Rio but some may suffer. Archery, wheelchair basketball and swimming missed their targets while goalball and sitting volleyball could be at risk too.

Most improved: Yang Yang helped China continue on their upward trajectory at the Games

Most improved: Yang Yang helped China continue on their upward trajectory at the Games

China to stay at the top

China used to have a poor reputation for disability sport and were ninth in Atlanta 1996 with 16 golds. But, thanks to the likes of swimmer Yang Yang, who won four events, they have broken the record number of golds, topping the medal table with 95. They won 89 in Beijing and 63 in Athens and you can expect them to dominate in Rio too.

Into 2013 and beyond…

Athletics and swimming have been at the forefront of the Paralympics and both have their world championships next year. Lyon, France, hosts David Weir and Jonnie Peacock between July 20-29 and Ellie Simmonds will race in Canada from August 8-20. At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 there are 22 medals available in five sports

.

London 2012 Paralympics: Shirley Woods wins marathon silver

Britain settle for third place in medal table after Woods wins marathon silver

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UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 9 September 2012

Shelly Woods added to the final-day success for the hosts when she took silver in the women's wheelchair marathon.

Coming into the home straight in a breakaway group of four, she held off Sandra Graf of Switzerland, who took bronze, and Amanda McGrory of the United States to claim her first medal of the Games at the last attempt.

American Shirley Reilly had just too much for Woods to catch and won in 1hr 46mins 33secs, a second ahead of the Briton.

Silver service: Shelly Woods (right) comes home second in the wheelchair marathon

Silver service: Shelly Woods (right) comes home second in the wheelchair marathon

Woods' silver meant Britain would have to settle for third place in the overall medals table behind China and Russia.

Woods told Channel 4: 'I can't describe how great it feels. That was such a hard race, probably the hardest marathon I've done in my life.

'It's been such a tough week physically and mentally but I still had the speed for the finish in the marathon.

'To sprint after 26 miles, it hurts. It hurt like crazy but I wanted it so bad and all the hurt is worth it now.

'I was fourth in marathon in Beijing and silver in the marathon in London is great, it's just amazing.'

Of her race tactics, Woods said: 'I tried to make a break but it didn't work for me. I didn't feel strong enough to break away so I switched tactics to sit back and wait and see what I could do at the finish.

'Throughout the whole course all I could hear was 'go on Shelly'. When you needed it the most you could hear their support. They were lined all along the way. It was amazing. The crowds have made these Paralympic Games.'

Woods was delighted to hear that David Weir had won his fourth gold of the Games in the men's race.

'I wanted David to win and I had ever faith in him,' she said. 'I've looked up to him all these years.

'For him to win his fourth gold medal, he's the greatest wheelchair racer of all time.'

London 2012 Paralympics: Tennis bronze for GB doubles

Doubles bronze for GB and Shuker and Whiley fight back in marathon match

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UPDATED:

17:04 GMT, 7 September 2012

Great Britain's Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley came from a set down to claim a bronze medal in the women's doubles wheelchair tennis with a marathon 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, win over Sakhorn Khanthasit and Ratana Techamaneewat.

The Thai pair had already dumped out the fourth seeds earlier in the draw, and they looked like taking care of the third seeds as well when they took the first set on a tie-break.

Medal marvels: GB's Jordanne Whiley (right) and Lucy Shuker won bronze in the wheelchair tennis

Medal marvels: GB's Jordanne Whiley (right) and Lucy Shuker won bronze in the wheelchair tennis

Shuker and Whiley clawed it back, though, edging a marathon second set which lasted 77 minutes.

The British pair then sealed the
decisive break to go 5-3 up in the third, and Shuker sealed victory –
and the bronze medal – with an ace after three hours and nine minutes.

The medal was Britain's second in
wheelchair tennis at London 2012 following Peter Norfolk and Andy
Lapthorne's silver in the quad doubles.

LONDON 2012 PARALYMPICS: Josie Pearson wins discus gold

Third time's a charm! Pearson breaks world record THREE times on way to discus gold

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UPDATED:

12:51 GMT, 7 September 2012

Josie Pearson, who broke her neck in car accident aged 17, set three new world records to take Great Britain's gold medal haul at the Olympic Stadium into double figures by winning the discus title on Friday morning.

The 26-year-old had to give up wheelchair racing after being told the risk of further injury was too great and only took up throwing 18 months ago.

But the Bristol-born athlete launched
the disc out to 6.38, 6.54 and then 6.58 metres with her first three
throws of the competition, extending the F51 record on each occasion.

Golden girl: Pearson broke three world record on Friday

Golden girl: Pearson broke three world record on Friday

Golden girl: Pearson broke three world records on Friday at the Olympic Stadium

With the competition also including F52 and 53 athletes, the distances were converted into points, with Pearson's 1122 putting her 242 clear of the rest of the field.

Such was her dominance any of her six throws would have been good enough to win the gold.

After Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and
Hannah Cockroft ensured Thursday night lived up to its billing as
'Thriller Thursday', Pearson's success kept the British gold medal
bandwagon moving apace.

Pearson,
who became the first woman to represent ParalympicsGB at wheelchair
rugby four years ago, has thrown 6.66m this summer, but the distance was
not ratified and so ineligible for the record books.

Ireland's Catherine O'Neill won silver with a throw of 5.66m for 880 points.

Flying the flag: Pearson celebrates her win in the sunshine on Friday

Flying the flag: Pearson celebrates her win in the sunshine on Friday

Pearson, who was told to give up wheelchair racing earlier this year because of a cyst which had developed on her spine, said: 'I can't quite put into words how I'm feeling at the moment. I am absolutely ecstatic.

'In training I was consistently throwing over the world record so I knew it was a definite possibility that I could do it. To get that first throw and break the world record was such a relief. I was able to relax and then my next two throws were even better. I think I thrive on pressure.'

Pearson was a promising show jumper at the time of the car crash in 2003, in which her boyfriend died as well as leaving her paralysed.

She added: 'I have always been very determined and I knew I wanted to be Paralympic champion. When you hear that the Games are going to be in your home country that's such an incentive to be the best at what you do.

'I was inspired by watching Athens a year after my accident. At that point we didn't know London was hosting the Games, but that inspired me to get back into sport and to be the best that I can be.

Living the dream: Pearson has achieved her goal of becoming Paralympic champion

Living the dream: Pearson has achieved her goal of becoming Paralympic champion

Living the dream: Pearson has achieved her goal of becoming Paralympic champions

'I can't wait to see than golden postbox (in her hometown of Hay-on-Wye) and my stamp.'

Richard Whitehead produced another late burst to book his place in the final of the T42 100m.

The double above-the-knee amputee, as he did to take the 200m crown, came roaring through from way down the field in the second half of the race to beat American Shaquille Vance to third place.

The Nottingham athlete, who is also incredibly the marathon world record holder, finished in a personal best of 12.97 seconds.

The 100m crown, though, is likely to be beyond him on Friday as the distance does not give him enough time to make up for his slow starts.

Another gold medal winner, Mickey Bushell, made it into the final of his second event, the T53 200m, as a fastest loser.

Scott Moorhouse finished seventh in the F42 javelin and Kyron Duke eighth in the F40 javelin.

Paralympic Games zone: GB football lose on penalties

Paralympic Games zone: Whenever, wherever, we'll lose on penalties

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UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 6 September 2012

What is it with us and penalty shootouts The blind five-a-side team lost on spot kicks, like so many England sides, beaten 2-1 by China in a best-of-three. It sent them into a play-off for seventh place. GB captain Dave Clarke hit his opening penalty over the bar but Dan English scored before Keryn Seal had his saved.

Tough-talking Wright

Martine Wright, who lost her legs in the 7/7 bombings, says she will carry on being a voice for disabled sport. After her sitting volleyball side lost 3-0 to Japan, she said: ‘I feel a responsibility to talk about disability sport, I am passionate about it.’

Carry on: Martine Wright will keep being a voice for disabled sport

Carry on: Martine Wright will keep being a voice for disabled sport

We’re sold on a toy story

The best-selling merchandise at the Games tells us something. We like pins (both the Paralympics and Union flag versions are in the top five), we need reading material (souvenir programme), we are supportive of the Army (Battle Back charity T-shirts) and we are suckers for a cuddly toy (mascot Mandeville).

False hope: Olivia Breen did not realise it was a false start

False hope: Olivia Breen did not realise it was a false start

One over the eight

Britain’s women have a chance to record their best wheelchair basketball finish following a 75-55 defeat by China. They face Mexico in a play-off for seventh on Friday, having never come higher than eighth. Coach Garry Peel said: ‘We got a bit soft on them.’

Breen’s false hope

Briton
Olivia Breen, who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, was unaware a false
start had been called in her T38 100m heat and carried on until the end.
She was allowed to rest for an hour before returning and eventually
finished fifth in the final.

It’s ‘murder’ for dave

Prime
Minister David Cameron was spotted at the wheelchair rugby last night
to see Britain beat France 57-50. After the cut-throat week he’s had
reshuffling his Cabinet, ‘murderball’ could well offer a few tips on
attack and defence.

Having fun: David Cameron turned up at the wheelchair rugby

Having fun: David Cameron turned up at the wheelchair rugby

London 2012 Paralympics wheelchair rugby: Great Britain 57 France 50

Great Britain 57 France 50: Wheelchair rugby side keep hopes alive by a thread

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UPDATED:

23:58 GMT, 6 September 2012

Great Britain's wheelchair rugby team survived a major scare at the Basketball Arena on Thursday as they kept their medal hopes alive.

Steve Brown's team will now face Japan on Friday in a game that will decide whether or not they progress from Pool A.

But they almost came to grief on day two of the tournament.

Stretch: Mike Kerr of Great Britain reaches out to get the ball before Sebastien Lhuissier of France

Stretch: Mike Kerr of Great Britain reaches out to get the ball before Sebastien Lhuissier of France

Having lost to reigning Paralympic champions the United States, victory over competition minnows France was paramount.

But the scores were tied after the first and second quarters before Britain edged the third quarter 15-14 and then pulled away in the final phase.

Aaron Phipps scored 30 of his team's goals.

Crunched: Aaron Phipps was on top form

Crunched: Aaron Phipps was on top form

Having fun: David Cameron turned up at the wheelchair rugby

Having fun: David Cameron turned up at the wheelchair rugby

Brown said: 'It's always very difficult when you have days like yesterday against the United States when you put out your best performance and it's still not good enough.

'Against France we always knew it was going to be a long, hard slog. They are a team that need to be worn down.

'It was goal for goal for an awfully long time, but the tactical decisions we made all worked.

Plan: Scott Brown has some tricks up his sleeve for Japan

Plan: Scott Brown has some tricks up his sleeve for Japan

'You've got to remember these are the top eight teams in the world and nothing can be taken for granted.'

Japan, considered by some as tournament dark horses, now stand between Britain and a semi-final place.

And Brown said: 'We've got tricks up our sleeve to play them. We've got different line-ups, you'll see different combinations of players, different ideas of presses and tactics.

'Of course, I can't go into that too much right now, but tomorrow you will see.'

Rammed: Riadh Sallem is challenged by David Anthony

Rammed: Riadh Sallem is challenged by David Anthony

London Paralympics 2012: Day six five athletes to watch

Rachael Latham's five Paralympians to watch on day 8

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 5 September 2012

One of our original Magnificent 7, Rachael made two swimming finals in Beijing but injuries forced her to retire in 2010. Now she is part of Channel 4’s coverage of the Games and here she selects her daily viewing highlights for day eight…

Silver service: Louise Watkin

Silver service: Louise Watkin

LOUISE WATKIN (SWIMMING)

Louise, 20, has won two medals already but it will be tough to beat South African Natalie in the 200m individual medley. Du Toit took gold ahead of Louise at the world championships but Louise has a quiet determination.

TIME: Heats 9.40am. Final 5.38pm.

TOM HALL-BUTCHER (FENCING)

Wheelchair fencing may not sound like it works but it does. Tom, 22, is in the sabre class A and was 14th at last year’s world championships. He could do better with home support. He has four qualifying matches then it’s knockout.

TIME: 11am.

JONNIE PEACOCK (ATHLETICS)

The 19-year-old runs in the T44 100m final. It is the most anticipated event of the Games and world record holder Jonnie is a favourite. It’s a tough field, including Oscar Pistorius, but Jonnie has the talent and belief to win.

TIME: 9.24pm.

In front: Jonnie Peacock (centre) shone in the 100m heats

In front: Jonnie Peacock (centre) shone in the 100m heats

TERRY BYWATER (BASKETBALL)

Terry, 29, scored 19 points in wheelchair basketball against Japan and 23 v Turkey in the quarter-final — they call it having ‘hot hands’. He doesn’t care who scores the points as long as Britain beat Canada today and they have a medal.

TIME: 9.15pm.

HELENA LUCAS (SAILING)

Helena looks a near-certainty to secure Britain’s first Paralympic sailing gold, needing a top-nine finish to do so. She is the only woman in a fleet of 16 in the single-person keelboat 2.4mR class and she has racked up four wins in 10 races.

TIME: 11.10pm.