ParalympicsGB has announced the first members of the British team set to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which take place in August this year.
Six shooting Para sport athletes will take aim in Tokyo having been selected to represent ParalympicsGB at the rescheduled Games this summer.
Paralympic medallists Matt Skelhon and James Bevis, alongside fellow rifle shooters Tim Jeffery, Ryan Cockbill, Lorraine Lambert and pistol shooter Issy Bailey are the first confirmed members of an anticipated ParalympicsGB team of around 240 athletes from 19 sports that will compete in Tokyo.
Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said: “Today’s announcement is a memorable moment for ParalympicsGB on our journey to Tokyo as we welcome the first members of the team.
“We recognise these are incredibly challenging times for all of us and athlete health and wellbeing has been at the heart of all our preparation and planning. We are heartened by the confidence shown by the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the International Paralympic Committee that the Games will take place safely and securely this summer.
“In securing their places, all six athletes have demonstrated they have what it takes to compete on the biggest stage of all and I look forward to closely following their progress both in the coming months and in Tokyo.”
All six athletes have Paralympic Games experience under their belts - for Skelhon and Bevis, Tokyo 2020 will be their fourth Games and another opportunity to add to their medal collection.
Reigning double world champion Skelhon won gold on his Games debut at Beijing 2008, followed by a silver and bronze at London 2012, while Bevis won bronze in front of the home crowds in London.
Skelhon said: “In such tough times, the Games are a massive thing to look forward to. I feel extremely privileged to be part of such an amazing team.
“We are so lucky to have a strong support team behind us that have worked very hard to give us the opportunity to continue to train and prepare safely and securely.
“I feel very proud and excited to be selected to represent ParalympicsGB at my fourth Games.”
Cockbill made his Paralympic Games debut in London, while for Jeffery, Lambert and Bailey, Tokyo 2020 will be their second Games after competing at Rio 2016.
Duncan Tunbridge, British Shooting’s Paralympic Team Leader, said: “Being the first athletes selected to ParalympicsGB gives this experienced group time to prepare fully for the Games in Tokyo.
“The athletes and staff have shown incredible resilience over the past year as competitions have been cancelled and they have spent considerable time training in their home environments. I am confident that the hard work they have continued to put in under such difficult circumstances will stand them in good stead for Tokyo.
“I’m also very proud that ParalympicsGB and Team GB have come together to jointly announce the selected athletes - the first time this has happened since London 2012. This truly underlines our mantra of ‘One British Shooting’.”
ParalympicsGB captured the imagination of the British public at London 2012 winning 120 medals in front of sell-out crowds with countless memorable performances.
The team eclipsed that performance at Rio 2016 winning an outstanding 147 medals including 64 golds to finish second in the overall medal table. The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be staged from 24th August to 5th September 2021.