5 Underrated storylines

Here are five storylines many Paralympic fans may not be aware of but could steal the headlines once the London 2012 competition begins. 25 Aug 2012
Great Britain's Ollie Hynd pumps his fist in the air after a top swim.

Great Britain's Ollie Hynd celebrates after a top swim.

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The London 2012 Paralympic Games will feature 4,280 athletes from 166 countries.

1. The Hynd family: Helen Hynd will be carrying the Paralympic Torch, while her sons, Ollie and Sam, will both be swimming for Great Britain at the Games. Helen was one of 50 torchbearers selected by the IPC to take part in the relay that will include 580 total torchbearers on a 24-hour overnight journey from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium in London. Ollie, the younger of her two sons, is aiming for his first Paralympic medal after winning three medals at his international debut in the pool at last year’s European championships. Sam heads to London as the defending Paralympic champion in the 400m freestyle S8.

2. Finnish wheelchair racer Leo Pekka-Tahti: As the world-record holder and three-time Paralympic champion in the 100m T54 sprint, this 29-year-old does not receive the attention he deserves. Overshadowed by many athletes from larger delegations, Pekka-Tahti is one of the best athletes on today’s wheelchair racing circuit, so be sure to look out for him in the T54 sprints in London.

3. Germany’s women’s wheelchair basketball team: Although everyone is talking about Australia, Canada and USA, look out for Germany’s women’s wheelchair basketball team, as they could be the ones to snatch gold in London. The squad won both the Four Nations Tournament and BT Paralympic World Cup this spring and looked on top of their game in doing so. If Marina Mohen keeps nailing her shots and Gesche Schunemann continues to grab rebounds like it is nobody’s business, Germany could roll its way to the top of the podium.

4. Dual-sport athlete Rudy Garcia-Tolson: The American will go double-duty in London, competing in both athletics and swimming. The 24-year-old double-amputee won golds in the pool at both the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games, and will now add the 200m T42 sprint on the track to his Paralympic programme in London.

5. Australian goalball returns to Paralympics: After a 12-year hiatus, Australia’s women’s goalball team will return to the Paralympics ranked No. 8 in the world. Led by captain Meica Christensen, the Australians will compete for the first time since the Sydney 2000 Games and will try to knock off tournament favourites China and USA in their quest to reach the podium.

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