The National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Italy and Iran have announced their respective delegations for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
Italy will send 94 athletes to contest 14 sports, while Iran will send 95 athletes across 11 sports.
Among the highlights for Italy is handcyclist Alex Zanardi. The former Formula One driver created one of the most memorable images from London 2012, raising his handcycle above his head after winning gold in the individual time trial. At Rio 2016, he will look to defend his titles in the time trial and road race.
Italian teenage sensation Beatrice Vio is another who will be cheered on. Having been too young to compete in London 2012, the 19-year-old wheelchair fencer is a favourite in the women’s foil category B.
Paralympic and world champion Martina Caironi – Italy’s flag bearer – will look to defend her gold in the women’s 100m T42 and will seek to upgrade her long jump bronze from London 2012 into gold at Rio.
Para equestrian rider Sara Morganti will seek her first Paralympic medal in the grade 1a; world No. 1 Michele Ferrarin will go for gold in the men’s PT2 when triathlon debuts in the Paralympics; and two-time archery world champion Eleonora Sarti will aim for her first Paralympic gold in Rio.
Headlining the Iranian delegation is the world’s strongest Paralympian Siamand Rahman, who is expected to go for the big 300kg lift at Rio 2016.
Joining Rahman is Paralympic gold medal archer Zahra Nemati, who will be the first Iranian woman to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Sareh Javanmardi, who won a bronze in P2 (women's 10m air pistol SH1) at London 2012, will look to defend her gold medal in Rio.
Iran named sitting volleyball player Eshrat Kordestani as their flag bearer, as the women’s team prepares for their Paralympic debut.
Italy’s full delegation can be found on NPC Italy’s website.
More on Iran’s delegation can also be found on its NPC’s website.