#50DaysToGo: 50 unmissable events at Rio 2016

Tickets are still available for events where records are likely to fall, legends will be born and memories created. 19 Jul 2016
Aerial view on stadium

The Maracana Stadium will host the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

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By Rio 2016

The world's most inspirational sporting festival will begin in just 50 days' time from today (Tuesday 19 July). Athletes from over 170 countries will be competing in the largest ever Paralympic Games, in more than 20 sports.

Tickets are still available for some of the most exciting and prestigious events at Rio 2016.

*Click on the numbers to buy tickets for each event


1. Iran's Zahra Nemati is one of her country’s most popular athletes after becoming the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal at either an Olympic or Paralympic Games. Four years later, Nemati will be back to defend her title in Rio in the individual recurve W1/W2 event and inspire women around the world. She will be one of the few athletes to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio and will carry the Iranian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.

2. The USA’s Matt Stutzman, the 'Armless Archer,' will also be competing in Rio in the individual compound event. Stutzman holds the world record for the longest distance anyone has ever fired an arrow.


3. Markus Rehm, the ‘Blade Jumper,’ could jump farther in the long jump than the Olympic champion. The German world champion holds the world record in the long jump in the T44 category, a massive 8.40m. He is also a medal-winning sprinter.

4. Felipe Gomes, a visually impaired sprinter from one of Rio's most notorious favela communities, is set to be one of the stars of the Games. The Paralympic champion over 200m in the T11 class is aiming for even greater heights in Rio.

5. Alan Fonteles, also known as Alan Oliveira, will be out to defend his 100m title in the T43 class.

6. Terezinha Guilhermina, who once employed Usain Bolt as her guide runner, is surely one of the most colourful athletes in the world. China’s Cuiqing Liu will be out to ensure Guilhermina does not have it all her own way.

7. Brazil’s Veronica Hipolito, a 19-year-old sprinter in the T38 category, is set to be one of the faces of the Games. The stadium will erupt if she makes it to the podium in Rio.

8. The Brazilians will not have it all their own way in Rio. Coached by Brazilian middle-distance running legend Joaquim Cruz, the USA’s David Brown has been setting new world records in the 100m and 200m T11 events.

9. Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock, whose name was chanted by 80,000 people in the London Olympic Stadium, will be aiming to defend his 100m T44 title. The USA’s Jarryd Wallace will be out to stop Peacock.

10. Another American, reigning world long jump champion Lex Gillette, looks well positioned to set a new world record in the long jump T11.

11. Tatyana McFadden heads the USA team. This September the 11-time Paralympic medallist is aiming to become the first athlete to sweep distances ranging from the 100m to the marathon. She will be competing in an unprecedented seven wheelchair events.

12. Omara Durand, the Cuban sprinter who has recorded 11.65 seconds in the 100m T13, looks unstoppable in the sprints and is set to become one of the poster girls of the Games.

13. Italian Martina Caironi is the world record holder in the 100m T42 with a time of 14.61 seconds. She could even improve on this at Rio 2016.


14. World No. 1 Dutchman Daniel Perez and world champion Briton David Smith are all set to go head-to-head in a compelling contest in the BC1 class at Carioca Arena 1.

15. In the BC2 class, local favourite Maciel Santos, gold medallist at London, looks likely to help add to the Brazilian medal haul. Santos’s older compatriot Dirceu Pinto is boccia’s top Paralympic medallist with four golds.


16. Australia's reigning world champion Curtis McGrath is one of the hottest favourites in Rio. McGrath lost his legs in a bomb explosion in 2012 while serving as an Australian Army combat engineer in Afghanistan. His journey since then has been nothing less than incredible.


17. Italy’s Alex Zanardi will be looking to defend his H4 title from London 2012, just one month before he turns 50. The former Formula One driver lost both legs in an accident in 2001 but has made a remarkable switch to hand cycling.

18. Another veteran, 41-year-old Peruvian Israel Hilario Rimas is hoping to secure Peru’s first Paralympic medal in 12 years in the C2 class and their first ever medal in cycling.

19. Sarah Storey is Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian. She will be competing at her seventh Games in Rio. As a swimmer, Storey claimed five gold, eight silver and three bronze Paralympic medals between 1992 and 2004. Storey then switched to cycling and won six more golds.


20. Austrian dressage star Pepo Puch won a memorable freestyle gold medal in the grade 1b class at London 2012, four years after a freak accident left him with paraplegia and only days after the death of his mother. In Rio, Puch will face off with Great Britain's legendary rider Lee Pearson, who will be competing in his fifth Paralympic Games.

Football 5-a-side

21. Brazil have won every Paralympic Games gold medal available in their sport and have never lost a match on the biggest stage of all. Expect a passionate atmosphere in Rio when talented stars such as Jefinho try to lead the team towards glory.

A Brazil-Argentina face-off would be unmissable.

Football 7-a-side

22. Now ranked No. 1 in the world, Ukraine would hope to back that up with gold in Rio. Standing in their way are fellow 7-a-side powerhouse Russia, the reigning Paralympic and world champions who handed Ukraine silver in both events. A rematch from the London 2012 finals is expected.

But before Ukraine can prove they are worthy to reach the finals, they will have to get past host nation Brazil in the group stage. And the home crowd are sure to give their Brazilian team a lift.


23. Goalball is one of the most gripping of Paralympic sports. Brazil will be favourites in Rio, which will see the next chapter played out in their compelling rivalry with Finland. Finland defeated Brazil 8-1 in the gold medal match at London 2012, but at the 2014 World Championships, Brazil secured their revenge by hammering Finland 9-1. The draw for goalball created a ‘group of death’ in the pool stage, with gold medal contenders Finland, the USA and Lithuania.

24. In the women's competition, the Brazilian team are world champions. With stars such as Victoria Amorim, the home side will be looking to complete a clean sweep of goalball gold.


25. Brazil has a strong tradition in judo in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Antonio Tenorio is hoping to extend his five-medal streak on home soil to end his career on a high note. Tenorio took gold in his Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996 and then won the title three more times, becoming the first judoka to win four consecutive Paralympic golds.

26. London 2012 silver medallist Lucia Araujo is one of Brazil´s main medal hopes in the women's events, in the 57kg category. Last year, Araujo took gold at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.


27. Iran’s Siamand Rahman, the world’s strongest Paralympian, could reach the 300kg mark and win the Paralympic title in the over 100kg category. Rahman broke his own world record earlier this year at a World Cup event in Dubai with a 296kg lift.


28. Since finishing with the silver medal in London, Australia's Erik Horrie has been dominating the AS men’s class, capturing his third straight world title at the 2015 World Championships. He has not lost a single major race since London.

29. In the women's events, Israel's Moran Samuel is coming into Rio after an unbeaten 2015 season, when she landed her first world title, winning the AS women’s single scull event.


30. German yachtsman Heiko Kroeger will try to reclaim the Paralympic title he won 16 years ago at Sydney 2000. If successful, it will be one of the longest gaps between individual Championships in sporting history.


31. China's Cuiping Zhang won gold in R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) event at London, setting a world and Paralympic record. She followed this with a second gold in R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions SH1), adding to the two silvers she won at Beijing. In 2015 she set three new world records.

32. Rio 2016 will probably be the last Paralympic Games for Swedish shooting legend Jonas Jacobsson, arguably the greatest Paralympic shooter of all time with 17 Paralympic gold medals. Jacobsson participated in his first Paralympic Games in 1980, at the age of 15. Rio will be his 10th Games.

Sitting volleyball

33. Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been drawn together in Pool B in the men's competition. The two rivals have contested the last four Paralympic finals dating back to Sydney 2000 and it was the European side that came out on top last time at London 2012. Do not rule out hosts Brazil in the men's side, who won golds in the 2011 and 2015 Parapan American Games, and world silver in 2014, beating Iran on the way.


34. Brazil's biggest Paralympic star of all is probably 10-time Paralympic champion Daniel Dias. In 2015, Dias won seven gold medals and a silver at the World Championships in Glasgow. Dias competes in a series of events in the S5 class, including the 100m breaststroke, the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle. He is the reigning Paralympic champion in all these races.

35. Teammate Andre Brasil, an S10 swimmer, will also bring the house down when he tries to add to his medal haul. The multiple medallist competed successfully at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, where he won three gold medals and two silvers.

36. Canada's Benoit Huot, a 19-time Paralympic medallist in the S10 class, will be returning for a fifth Paralympic Games. ‘The Shark’ first competed in the Paralympic Games at Sydney 2000.

37. In the women's events, Spanish swimming legend Teresa Perales will be aiming to retain her 100m freestyle S5 title for the fourth consecutive Games before potentially bowing out of Paralympic competition for good.

38. Brazilian swimmer Veronica Almeida won bronze at Beijing 2008, and could take the roof off the aquatics stadium if she finally takes gold in Rio.

39. At just 13-years-old British star Ellie Simmonds won two golds at Beijing 2008 and then two more at London 2012. Her head-to-head in the 400m freestyle S6 against her great rival from Ukraine, Yelyzaveta Mereshko, will be one of the highlights of Rio 2016.

40. US swimmer Elizabeth Marks incurred an injury to her hips while serving as a combat medic in Iraq and later lung disease that put her on life support. She has come back to be a potential star of Rio 2016.

41. The USA’s Jessica Long won eight medals, made up of five gold, two silver and one bronze, at London 2012 in the S8 class. She is one of the world’s most decorated swimmers with 17 Paralympic medals in total.

Table tennis

42. Natalia Partyka is one of that rare breed of athletes who competes in both Olympic and Paralympic sports. The table tennis star from Poland was born without a right hand and forearm and cradles the plastic ball in a nook at the edge of her forearm for the throw. A three-time Paralympic champion in the women’s singles class 10, Partyka will be one of the most popular participants at Rio 2016. She has not lost a match since 2008. Home favourite Bruna Costa Alexandre from Brazil has a mountain to climb if she is to snatch glory from the Polish star.

43. China's Lin Ma is a red hot favourite for gold in the men’s class 9. Ma started playing when he was just six years old and is going for his third-straight Paralympic singles title in Rio. Having won the men’s class 9 singles world title in 2014 and then the Asian title in 2015, Ma remains the No. 1 player in the world in his class.


44. Sixty athletes will compete for the first ever Paralympic medals in the discipline. In the historic first races, look out for the USA’s Melissa Stockwell, who while serving in the army in Baghdad became the first ever woman to lose a limb in active combat. Stockwell will be trying to seal her inspirational recovery since then with inaugural gold in Rio.

Wheelchair basketball

45. One of the most eagerly awaited matches of the entire tournament will take place on 10 September, when Canada take on Australia in the men’s group stage. It will feature reigning Paralympic champions Canada against the double world champions Australia. Canada beat Australia to the gold medal at London 2012 and Athens 2004, while Australia triumphed in the final at Beijing 2008.

46. The USA women are desperate to make amends for a poor performance at London 2012, where they finished fourth. The Beijing 2008 gold medallists count among their ranks veteran player Rebecca Murray, who already has two Parapan American Games gold medals, a World Championship and the 2008 Paralympics gold next to her name.

Wheelchair fencing

47. Brazil's Jovane Silva Guissone will take the piste in Rio for the epee event. Gold medallist at London 2012, Guissone is all set on repeating his triumph in his home country.

Wheelchair rugby

48. The four powerhouses in the sport are No. 1 ranked USA, London 2012 champions Australia, Athens 2004 gold medallists New Zealand and three-time runners-up Canada.

Wheelchair tennis

49. Great Britain's Gordon Reid won the inaugural singles competition at Wimbledon, the home of tennis. Reid won the Australian Open earlier in the year and will also be competing in doubles with teenage partner Alfie Hewett. Reid's conqueror in the French Open final, Argentina's Gustavo Fernandez, is another strong contender for gold. France’s world No. 1 and London silver medallist Stephane Houdet will also be in the mix, plus Japan’s two-time defending Paralympic champion Shingo Kunieda.

50. In the women's competition there seems no stopping the Dutch. At Wimbledon, Jiske Griffioen captured her fourth Grand Slam title, defeating compatriot Aniek van Koot. Griffioen and Van Koot look like an unstoppable pairing in the doubles at Rio. But Brazil’s Natalia Mayara will be seeking to repeat her two gold medals at the 2015 Parapan American Games in front of home fans.