Who are the talented teenagers to look out for at Rio 2016?
We have picked out eight of the best track and field stars who have yet to turn 20. They have got talent and youth on their side and are on our watch list at this month’s Paralympic Games, which start on 7 September. Here’s who to look out for:
1.Isis Holt (Australia – 100m, 200m T35 & 4x100m T35-38 relay)
Born in 2001, the 15-year-old Australian heads up a class bursting with young talent. The double world champion and world record holder leads the 100m and 200m T35 rankings ahead of China’s Xia Zhou, 17, and Great Britain’s Maria Lyle, who is just 16-years-old. Holt may line up in her first Paralympic Games as favourite for gold but world number two Zhou and triple European champion Lyle will not make it easy.
2.Hunter Woodhall (USA – 200m, 400m T44 & 4x100m T42-47 relay)
The 17-year-old sprinter, who competes in the T43 class, only made his senior international debut at last year’s World Championships – but he took it all in his stride, winning 400m T44 silver and 200m T44 bronze in Doha, Qatar. Woodhall takes on both events in Rio; he is the fastest T43 Para athlete in the world this year over one lap, having clocked 47.63 in Utah, USA, in May.
3.Thalita Vitoria Simplicio da Silva (Brazil – 400m, long jump T11 & 4x100m T11-13 relay)
World bronze medallist in the 400m T11, the 19-year-old competes in the 400m and long jump T11 on home soil. Da Silva sits third in the world rankings over one lap this year; she will be hoping the home crowds will inspire her to go even faster at the Paralympic Games.
4.Raja Jebali (Tunisia – shot put F40)
The 19-year-old competes in the shot put F40 and is the current world number three after throwing a personal best 7.04m this year – a distance that would have won her silver at last year’s World Championships.
5.Aleksandr Svechnikov (Uzbekistan – javelin F13 & 4x100m T11-13 relay)
The 18-year-old has been in winning form at IPC Athletics’ Grand Prix in Tunisia and China this year - he threw a best of 62.43m in Beijing, an impressive distance that takes the teenager to second place in the world rankings and just over three metres behind the current world record.
6.Ntando Mahlangu (RSA – 100m & 200m T42)
At just 14-years-old, the South African sprinter is the youngest in our list of talented teens. Mahlangu sits an incredible second in the 200m T42 world rankings behind the Paralympic and world champion Richard Whitehead, having set a new personal best of 23.97 when he finished runner-up behind the experienced Briton at July’s Grand Prix Final. Mahlangu also broke the 400m T42 world record the same month.
7.Alexa Halko (USA – 100m, 400m, 800m T34)
The American T34 wheelchair racer may be only 16 years-old but she already has two world silver medals to her name, having finished second in the 100m and the 400m T34 at Doha 2015. Another talented teenager, Great Britain’s Kare Adenegan, won 400m and 800m world bronze last year – she is only 15-year-old and also shows great promise.
8.Noelle Lenihan (Ireland – discus F38)
Lenihan, the current world number one in the women’s discus F38, made her senior international debut last year – and went on to win discus F38 silver behind China’s F37 thrower, the reigning Paralympic champion Na Mi. The 16-year-old broke the F38 world record in Doha, Qatar - a mark she extended to 32.14m when she won the European title in June this year.
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.