High hopes of medals for University-based athletes as Rio 2016 Paralympic Games begin

07 September 2016

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games start today and there are high hopes of medal success among the University of Bath-based athletes past and present competing for ParalympicsGB over the next 11 days.

Polly Maton, a 16-year-old athlete coached at the Sports Training Village by Colin Baross, is in action when competition gets fully under way on Thursday and will contest the T47 long jump final at 10.11pm BST.

She returns to the Olympic Stadium on Saturday for the T47 100m heats, hoping to book her place in Sunday’s final at 10.56pm BST.

Sunday also sees Sport & Exercise Science graduate Nicole Walters, who still trains at the University of Bath, compete in the para-triathlon as guide to visually-impaired Melissa Reid in the PT5 category.

Para-triathlon is making its Paralympic Games debut this year, with former World Champions Walters and Reid hoping to match or surpass the silver medal they won at last year’s test event in Rio.

Also contesting the para-triathlon on Saturday is former Team Bath swimmer David Hill. He is competing at his second Paralympic Games, having reached the 100m breaststroke final at Athens 2004.

Piers Gilliver, the world’s number one wheelchair fencer, is going for gold in the men’s epee on Tuesday and will also contest the foil event the following day.

Athlete Paul Blake, a reigning World Champion, is also a strong contender to add to the silver and bronze medals he won at London 2012.

He takes to the track on Thursday, September 15 for his T36 400m heats, with the final taking place at 2.15pm BST the following day.

Blake will also run in the T36 800m final at 11.17pm BST on Saturday, September 17. Training partner Sophie Kamlish, also coached by Rob Ellchuk, is in action that day too – her T44 100m heats are at 4.22pm BST with the final scheduled for 12.31am BST on Sunday, September 18.

University of Bath graduates Alexandra Rickham and Louise Hunt will also be competing in sailing and wheelchair tennis respectively. Details of their competition times can be found on our dedicated Rio 2016 pages – click here for the full schedule.

The Paralympians will be looking to add to the six medals won by University of Bath-based athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last month. Swimmers Jazz Carlin (2), Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Chris Walker-Hebborn all won silver medals, while athletes Emily Diamond and Eilidh Doyle won bronze in the 4x400m relay.

Sports Technology graduate Heather Stanning also successfully defended her women’s pair gold medal with rowing partner Helen Glover – both learnt to row at the University of Bath.

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