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13 world medallists to be selected for paralympic games

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23 June 2016 

Thirteen World medallists star as first Track and Field athletes to be selected for ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016

Thirteen proved a lucky number today as the British Paralympic Association (BPA) announced the first wave of track and field athletes who will compete for ParalympicsGB in Rio.

David Weir, four time gold medallist at London 2012, is joined by fellow Paralympic champions Aled Davies, Hannah Cockroft and Richard Whitehead.

Speaking today, Weir said:

“To be a part of ParalympicsGB once again is a huge honour. My first appearance came back in 1996 and the feeling of representing my country is as strong as it was when I put on the British vest in Atlanta.

“My performances on the track at the IPC Athletics European Championships showed that I’m still competitive with the best in the world and will be looking to put myself amongst the medals once again in Rio.

“London 2012 was beyond my wildest expectations, so to have the opportunity to go and do it all again at my fifth Games fills me with huge excitement.

“The team has gone from strength-to-strength in the last few years and I’m sure we’ll show once again that we’re a force to be reckoned with.”

Aled Davies, winner of the men’s F42 discus throw and shot put at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, said:

“London 2012 was the start of my journey in the sport and to have won two medals at the Games was a dream come true. The Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of the sport, so to be selected once again is a huge achievement for me.

“Since London, I’ve managed to secure successive world and European titles along with world records, but I do not have the Paralympic shot put title. To win that medal will be that missing piece in the jigsaw and I will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure I’m in the best possible shape come September.”

Cockroft is selected after winning the women’s T34 100m, 400m and 800m at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, while Whitehead successfully defended his title in the men’s T42 200m. Also selected is T36 800m World Champion Paul Blake.

Teenagers Sophie Hahn and Maria Lyle are selected to make their Games debut, following their performances at the 2015 IPC Athletics Championships where Hahn won the women’s T38 100m and the pair helped the women’s T35-38 4x100m relay to the top of the podium. Both took up disability athletics after being inspired by London 2012, as did world record holder Georgina Hermitage, who is also announced today.

Hermitage was a keen runner as a teenager but grew disillusioned with the sport and quit. She was inspired to reconsider sport after watching the London 2012 Paralympics and returned the track. She has gone on to great success, taking the World Championship title in the women’s T37 400m in her very first international season.

Today Hermitage, a mother of one, said:

"There is no greater honour than to be selected to represent my country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

"To be standing amongst the big names from London Paralympics and the emerging young talent who were inspired by 2012 is just mind blowing.

World champion throwers Jo Butterfield (F51 club) and Hollie Arnold (F46 javelin) are selected, as is high-jumper Jonathan Broom-Edwards – the first high jumper selected to ParalympicsGB since 1980.

Wheelchair racers Dan Bramall, world silver medallist in the T33 100m, and Mel Nicholls, world silver medallist in the T34 800m, round off today’s announcement.

Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB, said:

“With 76 days to go, I’m delighted to announce the first athletes that will represent ParalympicsGB in track and field and it’s brilliant to know that there’s more to come from this sport when we add more names to the team-sheet in a few weeks’ time

“It’s really special to know that there will be a strong mix of experience and fresh talent taking to the stage at Rio 2016 and it pays credit to the team at British Athletics who have established a world-leading programme with the power to contest for medals across a wide range of events.”

Paula Dunn, Team Leader for para-athletics and Head Coach of the Paralympic Programme at British Athletics, said:

“It’s really exciting to be in a position to announce the first group of athletes for the Paralympic Games. Rio has been the main focus for athletes since London 2012 and they have consistently shown that they are ready to take on the world’s best in September.

“Last year in Doha we secured our largest haul of medals since 1998, which highlights the strength in depth across the whole spectrum of events. Those performances combined with a record-breaking showing at the recent IPC Athletics European Championships will see us go into the Games full of confidence.”

Today’s announcement takes the number of selected athletes to 161 from 13 sports. A further announcement will take place in late July to confirm the remaining places on the team for track and field.

Selected athletes:

Hollie Arnold

Home town: Grimsby

Main training base: Cardiff


Paul Blake

Home town: Dorchester

Main training base: Bath University


Dan Bramall

Home town: Middlewich,Cheshire

Main training base: Stockport


Jonathan Broom-Edwards

Home town: Colchester

Main training base: Loughborough


Jo Butterfield

Home town: Doncaster

Main training base: Glasgow


Aled Davies

Home town: Bridgend

Main training base: Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff


Hannah Cockroft

Home town: Halifax

Main training base: Halifax


Sophie Hahn

Home town: Nottingham

Main training base: Loughborough


Georgina Hermitage

Home town: Alton    

Main training base: Guildford


Maria Lyle

Home town: Edinburgh

Main training base: Dunbar/Liverpool


Mel Nicholls

Home town: Worcester

Main training base: University of Warwick


David Weir

Home town: Wallington       

Main training base: Richmond


Richard Whitehead

Home town: Nottingham

Main training base: Nottingham