Tokyo 2020: Who to watch and when as eight University of Bath-based sportspeople and one graduate compete at Paralympic Games
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games officially get under way on Tuesday with eight sportspeople who train at the University of Bath and one graduate among the 227 ParalympicsGB athletes taking on the world.
Among the first British athletes in action is wheelchair fencer Piers Gilliver, who begins the first of his four medal bids at 1am BST on Wednesday in the Category A sabre competition.
Gilliver then goes for gold the following day in the Category A epee, the event in which he won silver at Rio 2016 and is the current World Champion. Training partner and fellow World Champ Dimitri Coutya also contests the Category B epee during a busy Thursday on the piste.
Coutya is also a strong medal contender in the Category B foil, taking place on Saturday, while he, Gilliver and Paralympic debutant Oliver Lam-Watson will also contest the team epee on Friday before completing an action-packed few days with the team foil on Sunday.
Also in action on the first full day of competition is swimmer Suzanna Hext, who does her strength and conditioning training at the University of Bath with EIS (English Institute of Sport) coach Michael Peacock.
Wednesday’s 200m freestyle is the first of four competitions in the S5 and SB4 categories for Hext, who will also contest the 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 50m backstroke.
Also in action in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre is Team Bath AS swimmer Steph Millward, who is competing at her fourth Paralympics Game and looking to add to her 10 medals. The University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport inductee races in the S9 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle, and is also in the 34pt squads for the women’s 4x100m medley and freestyle squads.
Making his Paralympics debut in the men’s PTS4 final at 10.30pm BST on Friday 27th August is paratriathlete Michael Taylor, who is coached by Rhys Davey at the British Triathlon Bath National Performance Centre. He has won gold and two silver on the international circuit this year.
Having to wait until the final few days of the Paralympics to compete are track and field stars Sophie Kamlish and Polly Maton, coached by Rob Ellchuk and Colin Baross respectively.
Former World Champion Kamlish, who will race in the T64 100m and 4x100m Universal Relay, is taking part in her third Paralympic Games, while T47 long jumper Maton is making her second appearance.
Also in action in the second week of competition is Maths & Physics graduate Stuart Wood, who is making his Paralympics debut in the VL3 paracanoeing competition. He first took up the sport with the University’s student canoe club.
The Paralympians will be looking to continue a hugely-successful summer for University-based sportspeople in Tokyo following the 10 medals, nine of them gold, won at the Olympic Games in swimming and modern pentathlon.