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Paralympics 2021: Our most inspiring disabled athletes

After being rescheduled to take place this year following the coronavirus pandemic, the much-anticipated Tokyo 2020 summer Paralympics will now commence, 24th August 2021. Tokyo will showcase a spectacular line-up of sporting events featuring Paralympians from around the world before finishing on the 5th of September.

With 537 events taking place across 22 sports, including the newly added badminton and taekwondo events, the Tokyo Paralympics are shaping up to be a great celebration of sporting achievements.

Team GB has high hopes for a place on the medal table this summer, with three-time gold medallist Ellie Simmonds OBE and eleven-time gold medallist Sir Lee Pearson both in a strong position for another place on the podium.

We know that all athletes in the GB Paralympic squad have trained very hard and shown the utmost discipline and determination to overcome their challenges and represent their country. Below we take a look at disabled sport, inspirational athletes and Team GB sporting hopes for the Tokyo 2020 (1) summer Paralympics.

Ellie Simmonds OBE

Ellie Simmonds OBE is one of the more recognisable faces from the Team GB squad. A star of the para-swimming team after winning three gold medals and competing in three Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020 will be her fourth.

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Simmonds started her Olympic journey to success after joining the British para-swimming team at Beijing 2008. Then the youngest member of the team, Simmonds went on to win gold at the S6 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle events. Simmonds continued her winning form at London 2012 with gold medals for the S6 400m freestyle and SM6 200m individual medley events, in addition to securing silver and bronze medals for the S6 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle respectively.

At Rio 2016, Simmonds received a bronze medal for the S6 400m freestyle and set a new world record in the SM6 200m individual medley event. Simmonds and the para-swimming team will no doubt be hoping to win another place on the podium in Tokyo 2020.

Simmonds has achondroplasia and is patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, an ambassador for The Scout Association and a WaterAid ambassador.

Karé Adenegan

Karé Adenegan is a Team GB wheelchair athlete specialising in sprint distances. Adenegan first came to public attention for her sporting achievements in 2015 after winning double bronze at the IPC Athletics World Championships.

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Adenegan represented Team GB at Rio 2016, winning bronze medals in the T34 400m and 800m events and silver in the T34 100m, cementing her reputation as a strong opponent on the track.

With her talent shining off the track as well as on it, Adenegan, who has cerebral palsy, was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the year in 2018, the same year she received her first major international gold medal after winning the 100m gold at the Berlin European Championships.

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan first found sporting success in his teens with a golf handicap of two, alongside Junior Open and scratch medals. Whilst studying a BTEC in Sports Evaluation and Performance at the Sports Academy for Golf in Colchester, Ryan suffered a life-changing injury as a passenger in a car crash that left the young sporting talent with a C7 spinal cord injury.

After completing rehab at the Stoke Mandeville spinal unit, Ryan found a new way to work with his strengths and ultimately found a new passion as a wheelchair rugby player, after the spinal unit’s sports therapist introduced the recovering star to the sport.

After joining the reserve list for London 2012, Ryan made his first Paralympic appearance as team captain at Rio 2016 and will now co-captain Team GB alongside Gavin Walker at Tokyo 2020.

Ola Abidogun

Shortly before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics were due to start, Abidogun was added to the athletics team alongside Hetty Bartlett and James Freeman. Abidogun won a bronze medal at London 2012 after being encouraged to take up sprinting by the GB para-athletics head coach Paula Dunn.

Abidogun, who took time out from competitive sports to complete a law degree, will now make his second Paralympic appearance at Tokyo 2020, competing in the men’s T47 100m. Abidogun, who is a single-arm amputee, has recently won bronze in the 2021 European Para Athletics Championships.

Paula Craig MBE

Paula Craig MBE twinned a career in the Metropolitan Police force with an interest in competing in marathons and triathlons. Whilst training for the Triathlete World Championship, Craig was knocked off her bicycle by a car, becoming paraplegic after suffering a severed spinal cord.

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In 2020, Craig overcame her challenges as a paralysed woman and joined an attempt to relay-swim the English Channel.

Here at Fish Insurance, we would like to wish all athletes competing in this years’ Paralympics the best of luck…. Go team GB!

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