These British Paralympian Women Are Ready to Make A Big Splash at Rio 2016
As the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games open on 7th September, we take a look at some of the women who will be part of Team GB, setting their sights on gold.
Jordanne Whiley MBE
Athleticism runs in Whiley’s family: her father, Keith, won a bronze medal in the L3 100m at the 1984 New York Paralympic Games. Both Whiley and her father have brittle bone disease, a condition which is characterized by fragile bones that break easily. Whiley herself has broken her leg 26 times. The condition has not, however, prevented Whiley from becoming a Wheelchair Tennis Champion.
Whiley and her tennis partner, Lucy Shuker, reached the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, teaming up again for the 2012 London Paralympics, where the pair won a bronze medal. In 2014, Whiley became the first British tennis player to win all four Grand Slams in a year: with Japanese tennis partner Yui Kamji, Whiley won the women’s doubles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. In 2015 Whiley was the first British woman to win a singles Grand Slam wheelchair tennis title.
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Stefanie 'Stef' Reid
Reid is a track and field Paralympian in the T44 category. She represented Canada in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, winning a bronze medal in the 200m sprint. Having switched to represent Team GB in 2010, Reid won a silver medal in the long jump at the 2012 London games. Reid had been a keen rugby union player before losing her right foot in a boating accident when she was 16. She is not just an athlete, she also has a degree in Biochemistry Queen’s University and has modelled for Debenhams. She is married to Canadian Paralympic wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos.
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Scottish wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn was crushed by snow and ice on her family’s farm in December 2010. The accident left her paralysed from the waist down, resulting in her spending months in rehabilitation at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which specializes in para-sports. It was at Stoke Mandeville where she discovered that she was fast on the track. Kinghorn came second in the London Mini-Marathon in 2012 and took home gold medals in the T53 100m, 400m, and 800m in the 2014 IPC European Championships in Swansea.
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Rogers was just 13 when she participated in the London 2012 Paralympics in the sitting volleyball team. Born without either tibia or fibula in her right leg, Rogers underwent a through-the-knee amputation, having a prosthetic leg fitted onto her. When a funding cut meant Rogers could not compete in the Rio Games for sitting volleyball, she turned her energies to athletics and revealed herself to be one of the fastest female Paralympic sprinters in the UK. In Rio, Rogers will be racing in the T42 100m.
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Like most of the other female athletes profiled here, Moore is multi-talented: she plays wheelchair tennis, has won four Virgin London Wheelchair Mini-Marathons, and will be competing in Rio on the wheelchair basketball team for the UK. Moore holds a bronze medal from the 2013 European Championships, a silver in the U25 2013 European Championships, and took home golds in the 2015 Women’s U25 Wheelchair Basketball Championships, and the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.
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Track cyclist Megan Giglia was a multi-sports coach before she suffered a stroke in January 2013, which led to paralysis of the right side of her body. Giglia used her background in coaching to help pinpoint sports which would aid her rehabilitation: she soon found cycling and excelled in it. Giglia won two golds in the UCT Para-cycling Track World Championships in 2016 and is set to score high in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
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At 15, Kare Adenegan is the youngest member of Team GB’s Paralympic track and field squad. Adenegan is a wheelchair racer, in the T34 classification, competing in the 400m and 800m sprints. Born with cerebral palsy, Adenegan had never considered participating in sport until she was inspired by the Paralympic Games in London 2012 and promptly joined Coventry’s wheelchair academy. She has since gone from strength to strength, winning bronze medals in the 400m and 800m sprints in the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha.
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Helena Lucas MBE
Sailor Helena Lucas put herself forward to qualify for both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, but missed out on both. Born with a defect in both thumbs, Lucas was eligible to compete in the Paralympic games, so in 2004, moved across to the 2.4mR Paralympic class. Having competed in Beijing in 2008, Lucas was not only the first British sailor to win a Paralympic gold medal in London 2012, but was the only woman in her event.
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Ellie Simmonds, OBE
Swimming prodigy Ellie Simmonds has been in the pool since the age of 5, competing from the age of 8. The Paralympian, who is diagnosed with Achondroplasia dwarfism, holds several world records and numerous medals. Simmonds first competed at the Paralympics at the age of 13, in Beijing in 2008, where she came away with two gold medals. She doubled her medal haul in London 2012 with two more golds, a silver, and a bronze. Aged 14, Simmonds was the youngest recipient of an MBE and, in 2008, was the youngest winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
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Anne Dunham MBE
67-year-old equestrian Anne Dunham has a bronze, silver, and five gold Paralympic medals under her belt. Dunham has a lifelong passion for horses, working in a local stable as a school girl and, by 16, running a yard of 80 horses as a weekend job. Dunham was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 27 and was subsequently confined to a wheelchair at 30. When her husband sold his business, Dunham bought a farm and a horse, establish a riding school, and at age 40, started competing.
Dunham first competed in dressage in the Paralympic Games 20 years ago in Atlanta in 1996, on her horse Doodlebug, where she won an individual bronze and gold medal in the open team event. Her team won gold again in the 2000 Sydney games, 2004 Athens games, and 2008 Beijing games. Dunham and her horse Teddy Edwards also won individual silver and gold medals at Beijing 2008. Having missed out on selection for London 2012, Dunham is back in the team for Rio 2016, now on her horse Lucas Normark.
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