Six reigning Paralympic champions are among the first group of 12 athletes selected to represent ParalympicsGB at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this summer.
Hollie Arnold, Jo Butterfield, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies, Sophie Hahn and Richard Whitehead all won gold at Rio 2016 and are part of a stellar group of athletes who are announced in the first wave of para-athletics selections.
Five-time Paralympic champion Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks, club: Leeds), who lowered her own world records in the women’s T34 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m in Switzerland last month, is joined by fellow T34 wheelchair racer and Rio 2016 silver and bronze medallist, Kare Adenegan (Job King, Coventry), in the women’s T34 100m and 800m.
For Whitehead (Keith Antoine, Southwell) and Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff), Tokyo 2020 will be their third summer Games – both claimed gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Whitehead has been selected to compete in the T61 200m, while Davies will go in the F63 shot put.
Hollie Arnold (David Turner, Blackheath and Bromley) – selected for her fourth Games – will be looking to defend the title she won five years ago in the women’s F46 javelin, while reigning world champion Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Graham Ravenscroft, Newham and Essex Beagles) – a silver medallist at Rio 2016 – is selected in the T64 high jump. Sabrina Fortune (Ian Robinson, Deeside), who won her first world title in 2019 to add to the bronze she won in Rio, will line up in the women’s F20 shot put.
Reigning Paralympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion, Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste, Charnwood) will go for a tilt at her second T38 100m Paralympic title in Japan. Meanwhile, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Andrew Small (Rick Hoskins, Stockport) has sealed his place in the men’s T33 100m.
Scottish sprinter Maria Lyle (Jamie Bowie, Team East Lothian), who won three Paralympic medals in Brazil five years ago, was in terrific form at the recent European Championships, claiming two golds to take her tally of European titles to eight since making her debut in 2014. The 21-year-old will compete in the T35 100m and 200m in Tokyo.
Lyle’s compatriot and defending Paralympic F51 club throw champion, Jo Butterfield (Phil Peat, Forth Valley Flyers), completes the duo of Tokyo-bound Scots in this first wave of selected athletes.
20-year-old Thomas Young (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) makes his Paralympic debut after impressive performances on the European and world stage in recent years, including T38 100m gold the European Para Athletics Championships earlier this month.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished third in the para-athletics medals table at Rio 2016, behind China and USA.
Para Athletics Head Coach Paula Dunn said,
“I am very pleased to confirm our first wave of athletes for this summer’s Paralympic Games. It has been a long wait for these athletes, but this is a significant milestone in their career, so I hope they savour this moment and reflect on their achievement so far and use it to fuel them in the final few weeks of preparation for the Games.
“I am proud of how these athletes have conducted themselves over the last year or so under very challenging circumstances. They have kept their focus on their goals in a year like no other, and I wish them all the best over these final few weeks of preparation prior to the Games. I am looking forward to seeing how they all perform out in Tokyo.”
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe said,
“It’s a great pleasure to welcome such talented athletes to the ParalympicsGB team with just over 60 days to go before the Games get underway in Tokyo.
“This tremendous group of athletes from both track and field has already shown great ability on the global stage, including gold and silver medal-winning performances at the last World Championships. I am in no doubt that their talent and experience will stand them in great stead at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and I look forward to joining them on that journey.”
The rest of the para-athletics team will be announced on Wednesday 21 July 2021.
The athletes selected for the Paralympic Games:
Hollie Arnold (David Turner, Blackheath and Bromley) – Women’s F46 Javelin
Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Graham Ravenscroft, Newham and Essex Beagles) – Men’s T64 High Jump
Jo Butterfield (Phil Peat / Shona Malcolm, Forth Valley Flyers) – Women’s F51 Club Throw
Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks, Leeds) – Women’s T34 100m and 800m
Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff) – Men’s F63 Shot Put
Sabrina Fortune (Ian Robinson, Deeside) – Women’s F20 Shot Put
Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste, Charnwood) – Women’s T38 100m
Maria Lyle (Jamie Bowie, Team East Lothian) – Women’s T35 100m and 200m
Andrew Small (Rick Hoskins, Stockport) – Men’s T33 100m
Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine, Southwell) – Men’s T61 200m
Thomas Young (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) – Men’s T38 100m