1. Ferreira could be Brazil’s big hero
Twelve months ago, T11 sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina was many people’s tip to be Brazil’s star of the Games on the track. However, China’s Cuiqing Liu appears to have put an end to that, winning all three sprint world titles last year.
With Alan Oliveira struggling to recapture the form and shape that won him global attention at London 2012, the platform is clear for Petruccio Ferreira to make a big name for himself. Although the 19-year-old broke the 200m T47 world record in 2015, he is still a relative unknown having missed last year’s World Championships through injury. He could win the 100m and 200m sprint double if he can beat teammate Yohansson Nascimento and Poland’s Michal Derus.
2. Tatyana McFadden can secure the magnificent seven
The US T54 wheelchair racer made history at the 2013 World Championships winning six gold medals from six events and at Rio 2016 she is aiming to go one better. McFadden will compete for seven Paralympic titles, taking on the 100m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 4x400m and marathon within a punishing 10 day period. Should she win all seven then she will surely go down as one of the world’s greatest ever Paralympians.
Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer and the Chinese duo of Wenjun Liu and Lihong Zou will be out to stop her making history.
3. Men’s 100m T44 final to be the best yet
The men’s 100m T44 is arguably the hottest ticket of the Games and September’s race could be historic.
US sprinter Richard Browne laid down the gauntlet last year winning the world title in a world record 10.61 seconds. His teammate Jarryd Wallace, the former world record holder, has started 2016 in terrific form and is consistently running under 11 seconds.
Jonnie Peacock has a reputation for saving his best for the big occasions, and the British sprinter is likely to have to run a big personal best if he wants to retain his Paralympic crown.
Throw into the mix South Africa’s “Mr Consistency” Arnu Fourie, Brazil’s London 2012 hero Alan Oliveira and Germany’s young gun Felix Streng and there is a strong chance that not only will the world record be smashed at Rio 2016 but all eight finalists will run under 11 seconds for the first time.
Should the winning time be faster than 10.5 seconds, it will mean that the world record has come down more than one second in just 20 years, an astonishing example of the progress of leg amputee sprinting.
4. Rehm to make global headlines
Germany’s Markus Rehm made global headlines in 2015 winning the world long jump T44 title with a leap of 8.40m, a distance good enough to win London 2012 Olympic gold!
Rehm won Paralympic gold in London four years ago with a distance of 7.35m and has improved immeasurably each year since, frequently breaking his own world record.
If the conditions are right in Rio, don’t be surprised if he makes the news again with another world record leap.
5. Expect big things from Cuba’s Omara Durand
After winning three world titles and setting multiple world records in 2015 - her first season back after becoming a mother – Cuba’s Omara Durand showed she has the potential to do something very special at Rio 2016. So fast is Durand that her 200m world title-winning time of 23.03 seconds from last year was well inside the qualification time for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Expect big things from an athlete who is full of confidence.
6. The women’s T38 class will produce great performances
At the 2015 World Championships, the world record was broken in the women’s 100m, 200m and 400m. Russia’s Margarita Goncharova won the latter two - plus the long jump - whilst Great Britain’s Sophie Hahn was fastest over the shortest distance as the two showed how great rivalry can inspire great performances. That rivalry is set for a new addition in September with the welcome return of Brazil’s Veronica Hipolito, the 2013 200m world champion, who missed last year’s World Championships through injury.
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.