Top 10 women in Paralympic sport

In honour of International Women’s Day, here are 10 women who have had a great impact on Paralympic sport. 08 Mar 2013
A picture of a woman's portrait showing her bronze medal

USA's April Holmes won the bronze medal in the women's 100m - T44 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ⒸGetty Images

In honour of International Women’s Day, here are 10 women who have had a great impact on Paralympic sport.

In no particular order, here are 10 women to honour in Paralympic sport on International Women's Day.

1. Sarah Storey

As one of the most well-known faces in British Paralympic history, Storey has 22 Paralympic medals to her name across cycling and swimming, including 11 golds. She has competed in six Paralympic Games, serving as a role model for several young girls throughout Great Britain, and last year was a finalist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.

2. Yu Chui Yee

Known as Hong Kong’s “Seven-gold princess,” the wheelchair fencing great who lost her left leg to bone cancer at 11 is all about sharing her accomplishments with others. Following her double-gold performance at London 2012, Yee and her family were inundated with interview requests, and she has tried to use her story “to cheer up the adolescents and the youngsters in Hong Kong.”

3. Esther Vergeer

Vergeer’s career numbers speak for themselves. The Dutch star retired from wheelchair tennis last month on a 470-game winning streak with eight Paralympic medals to her name. In her career, she won 148 singles and 136 doubles titles, and her Foundation has helped spread awareness for para-sport worldwide.

4. Natalia Partyka

Having competed in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Polish table-tennis player born without a right arm and forearm is a phenom back in her home country. Consistently ranked No. 1 in the world she won singles gold at the last two Paralympics and is not afraid of anything.

5. Verena Bentele

The German visually impaired nordic skier may have retired from her athletic career, but she’s still regarded as one of the best female athletes to have taken part in the Paralympic Winter Games. Twelve of her 16 Paralympic medals are gold, and in 2011 she won the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award.

6. Natalie du Toit

Following London 2012, South Africa’s star left competitive swimming with 13 Paralympic golds and 12 World Championship golds to her name. She was a trailblazer in Paralympic sport, becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2008, and she also dominated the S9 swimming classificationa cross three Paralympic Games.

7. Terezinha Guilhermina

The Brazilian is the world’s fastest fully blind sprinter and won 200m T11 gold at the last two Paralympic Games. She is arguably the most famous female Paralympian in history from South America and will be one to watch at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

8. Teresa Perales

Spain’s swimming sensation has won 16 Paralympic medals, including six golds, and she has been a strong advocate for the Paralympic Movement throughout her country. Perales has been involved in several occupations beyond swimming as well, especially in the political and education fields.

9. April Holmes

In addition to being a Paralympic gold medallist and world champion, American amputee sprinter Holmes has inspired the world by sharing her story. Three years after losing her lower left leg in a train accident, she found herself competing at her first Paralympic Games. As the first female athlete member of Team Jordan, she runs the April Holmes Foundation, a non-profit organisation that assists people with physical and learning disabilities with scholarships and medical equipment.

10. Chantal Petitclerc

Canada’s Petitclerc is one of the greatest wheelchair racers of all-time with 21 Paralympic medals – including seven golds – to her name. She has served as an inspiration around the world for female athletes with an impairment, and remains actively involved in sport today, despite her retirement. She was a coach for the British athletics team prior to London 2012 and was named the Chef de Mission for Canada’s 2014 Commonwealth team.

Related Images