9 Paralympic superstars to look out for

Still reminiscing and lamenting the buffet of summer sport we had this year? Well don’t worry the feast isn’t over yet – the Paralympics officially begin today!

Here are some of the superstars you should be watching out for at Rio 2016…

Jason Smyth

A two-time double Olympic champion in the 100 metres and 200 metres, Smyth is an athletics superstar of Usain Bolt proportions.

The 29-year-old sprinter is legally blind but holds a blistering world-record time of 10.45 seconds in the 100m T13 category.

Gordon Reid

Britain’s Gordon Reid may currently be in third in the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Rankings but the 24-year-old’s recent form stands him out as a favourite for the Paralympian title.

The current Wimbledon and Australian Open champion has reached at least the quarter finals in every singles grand slam he has competed and won four grand slam titles in doubles in the past two years.

Andre Brasil

At London 2012, Brasil won three gold and two silvers in the S10 category and in Rio he is one of the poster boys of Brazil’s swimmers.

Brasil’s impairment is a result of having polio as a child and he is the world-record holder in the 50m freestyle of his category, and the IPC Swimming World Champion in the 50m and 100m freestyle and the 100m backstroke.

Alex Zanardi

As a former Formula 1 driver, Zanardi is certainly a superstar. After losing his legs in an accident in 2001 the 49-year-old now dominates para-cycling.

The Italian champion in the H4 road race has won gold in the time trial at the world championships three times in three years, getting two golds and a silver in the road race too.

Ryley Batt

As Paralympic and world champions the Aussies are undoubtedly the team to beat in wheelchair rugby, and Batt is their star player.

Originally called ‘murderball’, this brutal four-a-side sport comes naturally to Batt. He is the youngest ever player to pay at the Paralympics, starting aged just 15 at Athens 2004.

Hannah Cockroft

Despite only being 24 Hannah Cockroft has come to dominate T34 wheelchair racing, with seven IPC World Championship golds and two Paralympic golds at London 2012.

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Cockfroft holds the world record in the 100m, 200m and 400m in the T34 category.

Zahra Nemati

This 30-year-old Iranian is the Olympic, Asian and two-time world archery champion in the W2 category, which covers sitting athletes.

Nemati is so good she also qualified for the Olympics this year, which is the first time an archer has qualified for both games since 1996.

Natalia Partyka

Partyka has won every table tennis class 10 singles title at the Paralympics since her first in Athens 2004 – and she’s only 27.

Despite missing her right hand, Poland’s superstar also competed in Rio’s Olympic competition this year.

Yakubu Adesokan

At the London Paralympics, Adesokan set a new powerlifting record in the under 49kg category on his way to gold.

Though his world-record of 176kg has since been broken, the 35-year-old Nigerian is the world champion and will take some beating.

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