In this blog, I’ll pick out some athletes to keep an eye on in Rio. I should say at the outset that it is notoriously difficult to predict how things will go in Paralympic sport, so inclusion here isn’t all about medals (I don’t want to tempt fate either!) here are a few to keep an eye on!
Dan Bramall (Athletics)
A bit of a geographical bias here as Dan comes from my home town, but I expect him to do well on his Games debut. A fellow Cheshire boy, Dan is a relative newcomer to Paralympic sport but has developed quickly, picking up silver medals at the World Championships last year, and again at the Europeans earlier in 2016. Expect him to contest a keenly fought battle with team mate Toby Gold. Dan will be hoping that this time, its him that comes out on top.
Kare Adenegan (Athletics)
In an event where most people will be talking about Hannah Cockroft, Kare will benefit from being the underdog. At just 16, Kare will also be making her games debut. She found her route into wheelchair racing having been inspired by seeing London 2012 and asking her mum to google what opportunities to compete were available locally. She’s come a long way since then, and I predict will go much further still…
Samantha Kinghorn (Athletics)
If I was still an agent, I would be beating a path to Sam’s door. I first saw her compete nationally a few years ago and was very impressed. She has a great attitude and team behind her, in particular in coach Ian Mirfin. Kinghorn took home no fewer than 3 golds at the European Championships in Swansea and will be looking to add to her medal tally here.
Emma Wiggs (Canoe)
Emma is one of a number of athletes on the Paralympics GB team who have switched sports since London 2012 with great success. A former sitting volleyball player, Emma will use her previous games experience to good effect in her current sport, which is making its Paralympic sport debut. Emma is a real character, with bucket loads of spirit and a fantastic attitude which will stand her in good stead as she takes to the water.
Pam Relph (Rowing)
After winning gold on home turf, Pam will be wanting to defend her title in Rio as part of a much changed mixed coxed four from London, but one which had a great season in 2015. 2016 has been more tricky, with the crew making what will be their first competitive appearance of the year at the Paralympics. Winning though is ingrained into the Paralympics GB rowers, who will always be a force to be reckoned with.
Claire Cashmore (Swimming)
Surely..it must be, this time. For Claire, this will be her fourth Paralympic Games. She has every other medal and title to her name bar that illusive Paralympic gold. She has left no stone unturned in her quest to be top of the podium, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an athlete who has worked harder, been pushed further and come back fighting every time. Her standing on top of the podium would be a lift not only to her, but the rest of the swim team in Rio.