With Rio 2016 fast approaching, Australia’s boccia player Daniel Michel and Great Britain’s rowing and wheelchair tennis teams have been announced for September’s Paralympic Games.
Daniel Michel became the first Australian boccia player named for a Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000.
Born with spinal muscular atrophy type two, a motor neuron disorder which leaves him requiring assistance for everyday activities, Michel has steadily improved his ranking, finishing sixth at the 2016 Boccia World Cup before receiving the final quota spot for Rio.
“I am really excited to be selected. It feels like a really good reward for the effort I have put in this qualification period,” the 21-year-old said.
“Being the first person to represent Australia at a Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000 is a massive honour. I am really proud to have that title and to be doing that for my country.
“I am hoping it is going to have a huge impact on the sport and on the reputation and perception of people with severe disabilities.”
“When people see boccia at the Paralympics and see all these athletes competing with severe disabilities; it is going to really widen their ideas of what people with disabilities are capable of doing. It is going to help shift those perceptions.”
Great Britain announced 10 wheelchair tennis players for Rio 2016, including 2015 US Open champion Jordanne Whiley, 2016 Australian Open champion Gordon Reid and London 2012 silver medallist Andy Lapthorne.
“I have put four years of hard work in to make sure I am best prepared to go one better in doubles in Rio and hopefully all the way in singles,” said Lapthorne.
London 2012 women’s doubles bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley will also be part of the team.
"This will be my third Paralympic Games and this is the one where I will be looking to bring home two gold medals,” said Whiley.
World No. 3 Gordon Reid also expressed his enthusiasm for competing in Rio.
“It is a special feeling to represent Great Britain and I will continue to do everything I can to get myself in the best shape possible to succeed in Rio,” he said.
A total of nine rowers have also been selected to compete at this year’s Paralympic Games.
Grace Clough, Daniel Brown, Pamela Relph, James Fox and cox Oliver James, the reigning World Champions in the mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) spearhead the team.
“The team that has been selected is far stronger than any I have been a part of in my six years of rowing for GB,” said Relph.
Rachel Morris, who has previously competed for Great Britain in cycling at two Paralympic Games, winning gold in Beijing and bronze in London, will now try to add a rowing medal to her trophy cabinet.
"I am so happy to have had such an incredible few years changing from a cyclist to a rower and had the chance and people believing in me," she said.
Australia boccia team
Great Britain wheelchair tennis team
Great Britain rowing team
More information about Daniel Michel can be found on the Australian Paralympic Committee’s website.
Information about Great Britain’s rowing team is available on ParalympicsGB’s website.
Information about Great Britain’s wheelchair tennis and quad team is available on ParalympicsGB’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.