Paralympic sport's ones to watch for 2016

Matt Crossen, Alfie Hewett, Ross Wilson, Kare Adenagen, Charlotte Moore and Megan Giglia
The GB team for the Rio Paralympics will be finalised in July 2016

The Rio Paralympics are fast approaching and Britain's leading elite disabled athletes are hoping the coming year can bring success.

The Games, which run from 7-18 September, will see about 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries travel to Rio to compete in 526 medal events in 22 different sports.

Britain enjoyed a hugely successful London Paralympics in 2012, winning 120 medals, including 34 golds, to finish second on the medal table behind China and Russia.

GB athletes have already secured more than 120 unnamed slots, across 15 sports, with a team of more than 200 expected to be named for the Games.

BBC Sport takes a look at some of the competitors who will be hoping to make an impact in their respective sports in 2016 on the biggest stage of all.

Charlotte Moore (wheelchair basketball)

Despite being only 17, Moore has been playing wheelchair basketball for eight years and is now a key part of the GB women's squad who will be playing at next year's Rio Paralympics.

The Counden Court student has a hectic life, combining her first year of A Level study in Biology, Chemistry and PE with training alongside the rest of the GB players who are based at the University of Worcester.

In 2012 Moore, who is also a talented wheelchair racer, was part of the Paralympic Inspiration programme and after London made getting to Rio her goal - and she is well placed to achieve it.

Charlotte Moore

The teenager, who was left paraplegic by a form of cancer when she was just three months old, enjoyed double medal success in 2015.

She helped the GB Under-25 Women win the world title before securing bronze at the European Championships, losing by one point to eventual champions Germany in the semi-final.

She also had the honour of being named in the tournament's All Star team.

"Having so many others on the team around the same age as me has been really good," she said.

"I never expected to play so many minutes at the Europeans and to make the All Star team was amazing and a real honour.

"To lose so narrowly in the semi-final was horrible, but it is something that will spur me on for 2016.

"I would love to be selected for Rio and try and put in the same sort of performance that I did at the Europeans but under that bit more pressure."

Did you know: Moore used to play the violin, reaching Grade 5

Megan Giglia (cycling)

In January 2013 the then 27-year-old was working as fitness coach when she suffered a brain haemorrhage/stroke which left her with restricted movement down her right side.

Keen to get back into sport, cycling formed part of her rehabilitation and after being spotted by British Cycling, she joined their development programme in 2014.

She made her major international debut in 2015, racing in both the World Track and World Road Championships, and finished the year on a high at the Manchester Para-Cycling event, winning gold in the C3 pursuit, beating the reigning world champion.

"I knew it was a hard ride," said Giglia, who is now based with the rest of the GB squad at the Manchester Velodrome.

"But when I looked at the scoreboard and saw it was a nine-second personal best where the week before I was way off the pace, I was so shocked. It gives me real confidence for 2016.

Megan Giglia

"At the moment, I don't allow myself to think too much about Rio because you never know what is going to happen.

"My next big competition is the World Track Championships in Italy in March and I just want to focus on each race as it comes until I know I have made selection and only after that will I focus on the Paralympics.

"I never dreamed I would get to this level but it has allowed me to turn what was a bad situation into a good one.

"It gives me something to live for and I hope what I am doing can give other people hope that they can do something with their lives."

Did you know: Giglia is an animal lover and she and her partner have three dogs, four guinea pigs, two rabbits, two chinchillas and some fish.

Alfie Hewett (wheelchair tennis)

The Norwich teenager is Britain's top ranked junior and is hoping to make his Paralympic debut in Rio at the age of 18.

Hewett was born with a heart defect, which required open heart surgery when he was six months old, and then aged seven he was diagnosed with a condition called Perthes Disease, which affects his hip joint.

But after picking up a racquet and ball aged eight, he found his sporting niche.

"As well as being the world number one junior, he is also British number two behind Gordon Reid and will be hoping to earn the chance to play with Reid in the men's doubles at the Paralympics, as well as taking part in the singles.

Alfie Hewett

Hewett's 2015 saw him play a key role in helping the GB men win gold at the World Team Cup - the equivalent of the Davis Cup - in May, make his debut in the Wimbledon wheelchair doubles event and also win singles titles in Berlin and Italy and the British Open doubles title with Reid.

"It has definitely been a rollercoaster year," he said.

"I had some good wins over top-10 players but also some sloppy performances so there is a lot to take out of it for next year.

"Wimbledon was huge for me and it proved that I could cope when the pressure was on. Playing there gave me confidence for the future.

"Getting to Rio would mean a lot. I've had to overcome a lot, but this has been my goal and it would prove that all the hard work and the sacrifices my family and I have made were worth it and a medal would be a dream come true."

Did you know: Hewett says he would like to play a match against John Isner to see if he could return the 6ft 10in American's serve, which regularly reaches speeds of 140mph.

Ross Wilson (table tennis)

Having won team bronze at London 2012, Kent's Wilson wants to add an individual medal to that if he is selected for Rio.

The 20-year-old was the youngest member of the GB table tennis squad in London, missing out on a medal in the singles before linking up with Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin for the team event.

But Wilson has struggled with a series of injuries since London and this year's European Championships, where he won team bronze, was his first major and only his fourth competition since London.

Ross Wilson

"At London 2012, there were about 5,000 spectators watching. It was incredible, an amazing experience," he said.

"The main goal was Rio straight after London. The experience of London is a tiny advantage and all the advantages add up."

Wilson, who in 2011 was diagnosed with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, which affects the growing ends of the bones, is expecting to find out whether he has been selected for Rio early in 2016.

He said: "After London, I suffered with a shoulder injury, and that meant a lot of rehabilitation. I also had knee and shoulder operations, so it has required a lot of patience and a lot of waiting around.

"That has helped me improve in the gym and improve psychologically and everything is coming together now."

Did you know: Wilson's sporting hero is Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

Kare Adenegan (athletics)

Watching Hannah Cockroft and David Weir win gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympics proved a key moment in the life of Coventry teenager Kare Adenegan.

Having been excluded from participating in sports at school for health and safety reasons, the Games made her realise that she could take part in sport, despite her cerebral palsy.

After discovering there was an athletics club in her city, she joined up and, under the guidance of coach Job King, the Bablake School student is now a force to be reckoned with.

In September, she became the first athlete in seven years to beat Cockroft when she triumphed in a 400m race in London.

Kare Adenegan

In October, aged 14, she was the youngest member of the GB team at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, winning two bronze medals including being part of a British clean sweep in the T34 800m where she was third behind Cockroft and fellow Briton Mel Nicholls.

"Sharing the podium with other GB athletes was great," says Adenegan, who turned 15 on 29 December.

"We had all thought of the possibility of securing a 1-2-3 in the 800m and to share that moment together as a team and with the nation was special.

"The World Championships were a stepping stone and I learned a lot about technique and tactics which should be beneficial for future competitions. The thought that I might be competing at Rio Paralympics is extremely exciting."

Did you know: Music plays a key part in Kare's training regime and she is inspired by lyrics from the likes of Nick Brewer and Guvna B.

Matt Crossen (football)

He may only have made his England debut a few months ago, but Crossen is already targeting gold with Great Britain at the Rio Paralympics.

The 25-year-old defender, from Stockton-on-Tees, impressed in June as England finished fifth at the Cerebral Palsy World Championships to secure a place for GB in Brazil, and he was also selected as a substitute on the team of the tournament.

He says he almost gave up football "10 times" after a stroke at the age of 22 left him with restricted movement on his left side.

Matt Crossen

Crossen also plays for Marske United in the Northern League First Division and works as a supermarket delivery driver.

He said: "I am going for gold. Definitely a medal is the aim going into it. I am not going there to be a tourist, I am going for a medal.

"I would say we have got the third-best team in the world. I know the rankings don't say that but I think we could beat anyone on our day.

"The World Championships were the most inspirational moment for me, it was breathtaking."

Did you know: Crossen is a big fan of boxing and his sporting hero is former world champion Mike Tyson.

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