The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has named the 44 track and field athletes and 36 swimmers who will make up the teams set to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
Having won 37 medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – 18 of which were gold – the Australian Paralympic Swimming Team will be under immense pressure to continue their reign as Australia’s most successful sport at the Paralympic Games.
Despite the retirement of Paralympic greats from the London 2012 team, including Matthew Cowdrey and Jacqueline Freney who won a collective total of 16 medals in 2012, Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team Kate McLoughlin believes the team selected to compete at Rio is a strong contingent of budding talent, who will take on the challenge to continue Australia’s proud history of success in the pool.
“Australia has had huge success in Paralympic swimming, from the first Games in 1960 in Rome, where the late Daphne Hilton won the country’s very first gold medal in the sport,” McLoughlin said.
“Although maintaining the edge we had in London will be tough, we only need to look at Australia’s success at last year’s World Championships to know that this team is in strong form.”
Reigning Paralympic and world champions Ellie Cole and Brenden Hall will help lead the team as they strive to build on the success from London 2012.
Cole and Hall will be joined by four other London 2012 Paralympic gold medallists Rick Pendleton, Blake Corchrane, Prue Watt and Matthew Haanappel.
Among the 17 athletes making their Paralympic debut in Rio will be 14-year olds Tiffany Thomas-Kane and Katja Dedekind who will be heading to Rio as the youngest athletes on the entire Australian Paralympic Team.
The team will head to Alabama, USA for their staging camp on 20 August before Rio 2016 begins on 7 September, 2016.
The APC also announced the largest section of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, naming the 44 track and field athletes set to compete in Rio.
Announcing the team from the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, McLoughlin said she cannot wait to see Australia’s Paralympic track and field athletes perform in front of a packed crowd in Rio’s Paralympic stadium.
Leading the way will be four-time Paralympian and 2016 Australian Paralympic Team co-captain Kurt Fearnley, along with a contingent of reigning Paralympic and world champions including Evan O’Hanlon who successfully defended his Paralympic 100m and 200m T38 events in world record time at London 2012.
Four-time Paralympian and world champion Angie Ballard, training partner and world champion Madison de Rozario long jumper Carlee Beattie, defending Paralympic shot put F20 champion Todd Hodgetts, and 100m and 200m T35 world record holder Isis Holt, who will be making her Paralympic debut in Rio, are among their other strong gold medal hopes named in the very formidable team.
“Naming the athletes on our biggest team for Rio is an exciting milestone for the Australian Paralympic Committee, and we’re particularly excited to see what this outstanding team can achieve,” McLoughlin said.
“Australia has a rich history in Paralympic athletics. We’ve won more than 350 medals since the sport was introduced at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960.
“And if the Australian Paralympic Team is to finish in the top 5 on the medal tally in Rio, it will be this group who will largely determine whether we achieve that goal.”
Reigning world champion and current world record holder in the 400m T53, Ballard is looking forward to reaching new heights in her career at Rio.
Having won a swag of silver and bronze medals at four Games, Ballard will be racing for her first Paralympic gold.
“We’re so close now, in 36 days we’ll be getting ready to compete. I haven’t had this pressure ahead of previous Games, but now I am among the top athletes competing in my class. I’m excited to see how it goes when I compete at the biggest event I can go to, and hopefully I’ll do really well,” Ballard said.
The full Australia athletics and swimming team can be found at the Australian Paralympic Committee’s website.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.