Rio Paralympics 2016: GB stars hoping to shine on the big stage

The Olympic Stadium in Rio
British track and field athletes will be hoping to impress at the Olympic Stadium
Paralympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 7-18 September Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app

The 264-strong British team for the Rio Paralympics has been described as the 'best prepared' ever to attend a Games.

Once action starts on Thursday, the squad will be chasing medals in 19 sports, hoping to better the 120-medal haul from the London 2012 Games four years ago.

The GB team features a healthy mix of newcomers and experienced campaigners but all will be after medals and bidding to continue the success started by Team GB at the Olympics.

Here, BBC Sport looks at some of the ParalympicsGB athletes who will be hoping to make an impact in Rio.

1. Abby Kane (swimming)

While the rest of her classmates at Largs Academy are settling back to the new school year, Abby Kane will be hoping to cause a splash in Rio.

The youngest member of the ParalympicsGB squad at the Games, Kane, who is visually-impaired, only turned 13 at the end of August.

Swimmer Abby Kane
Abby Kane is the youngest member of the ParalympicsGB squad in Rio at 13 years old

She started to swim after a family trip to Australia when she was seven. Her brother Fraser, who like her also has the degenerative eye condition Stargardt's disease, is also a talented swimmer and is now part of the Scottish Para-cycling squad

Rio will see Kane compete in three events - the S13 400m freestyle, 50m freestyle and the event where she reached the qualifying standard at trials in April, the 100m backstroke, where she is ranked fourth in the world.

Did you know? Kane is the youngest member of a GB Paralympic team since fellow swimmer Joanne Rout (formerly Round) competed at the 1988 Games in Seoul aged 12.

2. Anne Dunham (equestrian)

Dunham might be the oldest member of the ParalympicsGB team in Rio, aged 67, but she will be determined to make her mark in the equestrian events at the Games.

A keen horsewoman all her life, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after the birth of her daughter and has been a wheelchair user since the age of 30.

Anne Dunham on Lucas
Anne Dunham was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the 67 year-old has been using a wheelchair since her 30th birthday

The Wiltshire rider's Paralympic career goes back to the sport's debut at the Games in Atlanta in 1996 where she won team gold and individual bronze.

Four years later in Sydney and again in Athens, she helped GB win team gold before adding to a third team gold with individual gold and silver on Teddy Edwards in Beijing in 2008.

Dunham missed out on selection for 2012 but returned to the squad the following year and has battled with GB team-mate Sophie Christiansen for top honours in the Grade Ia class for the most severely-impaired riders ever since.

Did you know? Anne's horse LJT Lucas Normark (better known as Lucas) is an Appaloosa breed, known for its black and white spotted coat pattern.

3. Richard Chiassaro (athletics)

Four years ago, wheelchair racer Richard Chiassaro suffered bitter disappointment when he missed out on selection for the GB team for the London Paralympics.

But the 34-year-old, who lives in Harlow, Essex, has had a remarkable 2016 so far and is a medal contender in the hotly-contested T54 category, which also features compatriot David Weir.

Wheelchair racer Richard Chiassaro
Richard Chiassaro is ranked number one in the world for the T54 400m and 800m events

Coached by Jenni Banks, who also coaches Olympic T34 sprint champion Hannah Cockroft, he won gold in the 200m and silvers in the 100, 400 and 800m at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Italy in June.

In addition, he also broke David Weir's 400m British record, which had stood since 2008.

Did you know? As well as wheelchair racing, Chiassaro also plays wheelchair basketball with the Essex Outlaws.

4. Megan Giglia (cycling)

Giglia, from Bradford-on-Avon, goes to Rio as a world champion and keen to add a Paralympic title to her name on her Games debut.

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

Cyclist Megan Giglia
Megan Giglia, a former fitness coach, had a stroke while she was working at her local gym

She took up cycling as part of her rehab and joined the British Cycling development programme in 2014, making her international debut last year.

She won double gold in March's UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Italy, setting new world records in both the 3km pursuit and the 500m time trial in her C3 category.

Did you know? Giglia is a former regional officer for Badminton England and used to be a wall-climbing instructor.

5. Piers Gilliver (wheelchair fencing)

Gilliver's road to Rio has not been straightforward - his sport did not receive funding from UK Sport until early 2015 but both he and team-mate Dimitri Coutya have battled hard to go to the Games as genuine medal prospects.

The Gloucestershire star, who turns 22 on the penultimate day of the Games, started the sport in 2010, three years after the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome left him as a full-time wheelchair user.

Wheelchair fencer Piers Gilliver
Piers Gilliver is the world number one fencer in the category A men's epee event

He made his GB debut in July 2012 and was part of the British Paralympic Association's Paralympic inspiration programme in London.

Since then he has won the 2014 World Cup series title in the epee event and is world number one in Category A in the men's Epee, where he will be hoping to win GB's first medal in the sport since a team bronze in 1988.

Did you know? Gilliver's brother Miles is a dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet company.

6. Ellie Robinson (swimming)

Another of the talented teenagers who will be making their Paralympic swimming debut in Rio, Robinson was inspired by watching GB team-mate Ellie Simmonds win double gold at London 2012.

The 15-year-old Northampton High School student, who like Simmonds has dwarfism, learnt to swim when she was four years old and was talent-spotted in 2012 with the Tokyo 2020 Games in mind.

Swimmer Ellie Robinson
Ellie Robinson, at just 15 years old, holds four British records and won three bronze medals at the IPC European swimming championships

However, Robinson has progressed quickly and will compete in four events in Rio - the S6 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle as well as the 50m butterfly, her strongest event.

She finished a close second to Ukraine's Paralympic, World and European champion Oksana Krul in the butterfly final at May's IPC Swimming European Championships in Madeira, where she also won three bronzes, but has the ability to turn the tables on her rival in Rio.

Did you know? Robinson holds four British records, including the S6 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

7. Kadeena Cox (athletics and cycling)

Kadeena Cox
Kadeena Cox is aiming to become the first Briton since 1988 to win Paralympic medals in two different sports

Doing one sport at elite level is tough enough but Leeds athlete Kadeena Cox will be competing in two sports in Rio - and has medal chances in both.

Cox was a talented sprinter before a stroke in May 2014 led to multiple sclerosis. She returned to the track but also found she had a talent for cycling and set herself the target of competing in both at Rio, juggling two different sets of demands while also coping with her condition.

It hasn't been easy and the 24-year-old has found herself reclassified in both sports since the turn of the year. She is, however, a current world champion in both.

On the track she is set to compete in the T38 100m and the 400m, where she is the second fastest in the world, behind banned Russian Margarita Goncharova, and then in the velodrome she goes up against 11-time Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey over 500m.

Did you know? Medals in both disciplines would make Cox the first Briton to achieve the feat in two different sports at the same Games since Isabel Barr (later Newstead) managed it in shooting and athletics in Seoul in 1988.

8. Gordon Reid (wheelchair tennis)

This year has already been one to remember for 24-year-old Reid and he will be hoping that it can continue on a high in Rio in his third Paralympics.

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Gordon Reid wins singles wheelchair title

Reid, who lost the use of his legs aged 13 after contracting transverse myelitis - a disease which affects the spinal cord - started the year with victory in the Australian Open singles decider and also reached the singles final at the French Open.

But the highlight was Wimbledon where the Scot, cheered on by his Alice band army of followers, won the inaugural men's singles title and also teamed up with fellow Rio-bound teammate Alfie Hewett to claim victory in the men's doubles.

Reid will be chasing double success in Rio and will again pair up with Hewett as they bid to win Britain's first medals in the men's singles division.

Did you know? Reid has a lion cub named after him at Blair Drummond safari park near Stirling.

9. Phil Pratt (wheelchair basketball)

The 22-year-old from Newport has been tipped by many experts to shine on his Paralympic debut in Rio.

The talented sportsman started playing wheelchair basketball aged 11 and also dabbled in athletics and wheelchair tennis, where he was ranked in the world's top three in juniors before concentrating on his hoop dreams.

Four years ago he and fellow Rio debutants Gregg Warburton and Harry Brown carried the Paralympic flag into the Olympic Stadium as part of the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Wheelchair basketball player Phil Pratt
Phil Pratt carried the Paralympic flag with his team mates at the London 2012 opening ceremony and since then he has won European titles as a junior and senior player

He helped GB win under-22 European gold in 2014 and the same year made his senior debut at the World Championships in South Korea.

Last year, he was part of the GB side that won a third European title in front of their home crowd in Worcester.

Did you know? After the Paralympics, Pratt will play for leading Italian club Porto Torres, who are based in Sardinia.

10. David Stone (cycling)

Rio will be a fourth Games for trike rider David Stone, who made his Paralympic debut in Sydney in 2000 aged 19, when he rode on two wheels.

He missed out on medals on his debut and then took a break from the sport before balance issues caused by his cerebral palsy prompted him to switch to three wheels.

Cyclist David Stone
Rio 2016 will be David Stone's fourth Paralympic Games after making his debut aged 19 at Sydney 2000

He claimed two gold medals in the road race and time trial at the 2008 Games in Beijing and after winning bronze in the time trial in London, claimed the last of ParalympicsGB's cycling golds of 2012 in the road race at Brands Hatch.

He took a break in 2015 but returned to action this year with road race silver in the Road World Cup in Belgium. At 35, Stone is still one of the youngest in the T2 class with one of his rivals Hans-Peter Durst aged 58.

Did you know? Stone spent time travelling around India after the Sydney Paralympics and again before 2012 studying at a yoga school in the north of the country.

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