HERE COME THE PARALYMPIANS
PUBLISHED: 12:21 25 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:47 20 February 2013
Our guide to the local stars to look out for at London2012
SITTING VOLLEYBALL, MENS TEAM
Justin, originally from Slough, made his debut for the British team at the 2010 Harpers International Tournament. His dominant position on the court is as Outside Hitter and he wears the Number 2 shirt. As a double leg amputee, Justin is classified as a D athlete.
ASM SINGLE SCULL
Tom is the reigning Paralympic and World Champion in the Arms and Shoulders only mens single scull boat class (ASM1x), training at Caversham.
He made his first appearance in the sport when he won his category at the 2006 Indoor Rowing Championships using the FES (functional electrical stimulation) rowing machine with integrated legs and arms.
Becoming Paralympic Champion in only his second year of competitive rowing was an outstanding achievement. Tom was named 2010 World Adaptive Crew of the Year by the sports world governing body. He won his third World gold at the 2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand, regularly setting world best times.
Tom is a graduate of the University of Warwick and he played 1st XV rugby there, but following an accident unconnected with sport he took up rowing in 2006 to keep fit.
Meet our magnificent local Paralympians
With the rowing facilities in Berkshire and Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, its no surprise that many athletes have a local connection. Here are some of the medal hopes to look out for and cheer on from the ParalympicsGB team.
Find out more at http://www.paralympics.org.uk
Georgy, originally from Maidenhead, has always been sporty, competing in both Swimming and Athletics at national level when she was younger. She started Shooting at the age of 13, winning a gold medal at the 2010 IPC Shooting World Championships in France. Competing in the R5 10m air rifle prone SH2 mixed, she shot a perfect 600 to equal the world record in 17.5 minutes.
Georgy has taken a sabbatical year from her Bachelors Degree in Sports Coaching.
SOPHIE CHRISTIANSEN MBE
Sophie makes her third Games appearance at London 2012, in a glittering career that began after a school trip to her local RDA centre in South Bucks inspired her at the age of six.
Originally from Ascot, she first competed internationally at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, riding Hotstuff, and won an individual bronze medal. That same year, she was voted BBC London Disabled Athlete of the Year.
Sophie used to compete in half-marathons and won the Windsor half-marathon in a wheelchair race in 2002. In 2008 she was awarded the Vivien Batchelor Trophy for the most outstanding rider under 25 by the British Equestrian Writers Association, as well as the Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy, for the most promising rider under 25 in eventing, dressage and showjumping.
She became an MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours List for services to disabled sport. This year she was awarded a Masters degree in Maths from Royal Holloway University, working part-time as a statistician.
WOMENS TEAM EPEE
Gemma was double County Champion in Triple Jump by the age of 15. She also figure skated at National Level between the age of eight and 11, then played County level Hockey and was District 100m Champion between the ages of 12 and 15.
In 2008 Gemma was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a progressive nervous system disease affecting the functioning of the nerves in her right leg. To maintain her sporting interests, she began coaching, officiating and volunteering at sports events.
Shortly after starting her undergraduate degree in Law at Durham University, Gemma first tried Wheelchair Fencing. She found that she really enjoyed competing and says that her love for the sport is continually increasing.
WOMENS TEAM EPEE
At just 14 Gabi will be one of the youngest Paralympics athletes in London, having been talent-spotted at the National Junior Games in 2009. Rapidly progression has led to her competing at European and international level. In only her second international competition, the 2011 Lonato World Cup in Italy, she finished ninth.
"Wheelchair Fencing is a really fast sport, you dont have a chance to stop. You always have to be alert and its highly competitive, she says.
GOALBALL, MENS TEAM
Simon picked up the sport at boarding school as a teenager. He started competing in 1989 and he went on to be selected to the GB squad. After an operation partially restored his eyesight, Simon retired from the sport because of work and family commitments, but decided to return when his eyesight deteriorated again. Hes the oldest squad member at 43, but ran a 5km race around the Olympic Park as part of the build-up to the Games.
ALISTAIR PATRICK HESELTON
As a schoolboy, Alistair played for Wycombe Wanderers FC, before signed to Queens Park Rangers youth and reserves team from the age of 17. He also played on loan with Oldham Athletic and played semi-professionally with Northwood and Bishops Stortford.
When he was approached by the FA, Alistair hadnt played for four years following an accident, but will now make his Paralympic debut. His proudest moment was scoring on his England debut at the 2011 Cerebral Palsy World Cup in the Netherlands against Korea. Alistair also scored in the final of the 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup against Brazil.
Raised in High Wycombe, Morgyn makes his debut at London 2012. His strongest stroke is Backstroke and he reached the MC 100m Backstroke final at the 2012 British Swimming Championships, impressing selectors with his performance.
Morgyn is classified as a S9 athlete as a lower-limb amputee.
LTA MIXED COXED FOUR
Pam is a reigning World Champion in the mixed coxed four, training at Caversham.
Until recently Pamela was on an army scholarship which saw her attend the Defence Sixth Form College Welbeck, with a view to joining the Royal Engineers. When this career path was cut short due to her impairment, Pamela saw an opportunity in adaptive rowing.
She was first introduced to the world of rowing in August 2010 by her older sister Monica who has rowed internationally for GB. At the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Pamela won gold in the Legs Trunk and Arms mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) with crewmates Naomi Riches, David Smith, James Roe and (cox), Lily van den Broecke. At the final World Cup of the 2012 season in Munich, Pam raced in the LTA mixed coxed four, once again winning gold.
LTA MIXED COXED FOURS
Naomi, who trains at Caversham, is a Beijing Paralympic bronze medallist and five-times World Champion in the mixed coxed four.
Previously a keen swimmer, she was a National Disabled Swimming Champion at the age of 12. Naomi was introduced to rowing at the Royal National Institute for the Blind College in Worcester.She first took gold in the Legs Trunks and Arms adaptive mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+), at the 2004 World Championships. That success has continued and for the final World Cup of the 2012 Season in Munich, Naomi raced in the LTA mixed coxed four, once again winning gold.
Naomi has completed studies for a BA in Metalwork and Jewellery Design.
TA MIXED DOUBLE SCULL
Sam, a member of Dorney Boat Club, and originally from Reading, joined the Adaptive Squad in 2009. That year she won a silver and a bronze in the Trunk and Arms mixed double scull (TAMix2x) and achieved a personal best at the Varese International Regatta.
She completed a Foundation Diploma at Thames Valley University and has a big interest in coaching, and hoping to have a career in it in the future. Although her home town is Wokingham, she currently resides in Oxford.
Matt, born in Canada, has been competing for 17 years after joining a have a go session at the National Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville.
In domestic competition, Matt spent 12 years with Super League Club Aces, during which he helped them win various titles. He has also played in Italy for the 2010/11 season, winning various titles and cups for club Elecom Roma.
He made his debut in 2006 for GB at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and has since gone on to play for the team at two Europeans and one World Championship.He would like to become a Wheelchair Basketball coach after he finishes playing, and is classified as a 2.0 player.
WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL, WOMENS TEAM
This will be Clares fourth Paralympic Games. A High Wycombe girl, she was represented her country in hockey, and school in the National Indoor Championships prior to an accident. She started playing Wheelchair Basketball at Stoke Mandeville in 1998.
Clare has also won five European bronze medals. She has played professionally in the Italian League and now plays for Team Mandeville and classified as 1.5 athlete.
Clare was awarded a Bachelors Degree in Sport and Exercise Science from Loughborough University in 2003.
WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL, WOMENS TEAM
Louise, originally from Reading, started playing Wheelchair Basketball after she was introduced to the sport at the National Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville. Her most memorable moment remains entering the arena for the first time in Beijing.
She is currently studying for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
She is classified as a 2.0 player and plays for Team Mandeville.
SITTING VOLLEYBALL, MENS TEAM
The speed, power and aggression of the sport quickly turned to love when Charlie was introduced to Sitting Volleyball at the 2009 Amputee Games at Stoke Mandeville.
Charlie has now earned over 50 GB caps after making his debut at the 2010 World Cup, when the team competed against Iraq. His dominant position on the court is the middle and he can usually be found wearing the Number 10 shirt.
Charlie was a soldier who acquired meningitis in 2006. As a double below-knee amputee he is classified as a D athlete.