Team GB enjoyed a record breaking year at the Rio 2016 Olympics. They created Olympic history by beating China to second place in the medal table for the first time thanks to a record breaking 5 gold medals in a day.
After the Team GB Paralympians achieved a very creditable 3rd place at the London Paralympics with 120 medals they will be looking to break more records this summer. The Paralympic team will be aiming for a minimum of 121 medals this year. UK Sport Chief Executive Liz Nicholls has described this target as 'incredibly challenging' whilst British Paralympic Games Chief Tim Hollingsworth called it an 'ambitious one'.
Unfortunately at the Olympic games there are only the two martial arts events, Judo and Fencing. The Team GB Paralympic Judo athletes will be looking to recreate the success of double Olympic Judo champion Jade Jones.
Team GB Paralympic Judo Squad
Sam Ingram – Will be competing in the -90KG category for his 3rd consecutive Paralympic Games. Ingram was a silver medalist at the London Games and was a bronze medalist in Beijing. Sam Ingram has continued to improve retaining his European Champion title in 2013 before finishing second in the World Games. He goes to Rio as a serious gold medal contender.
Jonathan Drane – Fought in the Team GB senior squad before the diagnosis of his visual impairment. He won a bronze at the 2014 world championships but has yet to represent Great Britain at a Paralympic Games.
Chris Skelley – Recently won bronze in the -100KG category at the recent European Championships. Skelley said “The Paralympics is the absolute pinnacle of our sport and I’m determined to go out there and show people the kind of performances that I know I’m capable of”.
Jack Hodgson – A second bronze medalist from the 2015 European Championships. After his 2015 victory he said “This is a great moment for us to enjoy as athletes, particularly because we know how much work it’s taken to reach this point, but now we’ll return to training more focused than ever on our preparations for the Games.”
Paralympics Judo Classification
Judo at the Paralympics is for visually impaired athletes. Each weight category is open with competitors from B1, B2 and B3 classes competing against each other.
B1 – No light perception and an inability to recognise shapes at any distance.
B2 – Low level of usable partial vision
B3 – Can see more than B2
Team GB Paralympic Wheel Chair Fencing Squad
Piers Gilliver – Piers made history by becoming the first Briton to win a Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix Title. He also won a silver medal at the 2015 world championships. Piers is seen as a firm favourite for Rio 2016.
Dimitri Coutya – Will be making his Paralympic debut in the men's category A event, having won also won a silver medal at the 2015 world championships.
Both Coutya and Gilliver will compete in the Category A event on the 12th of September.
Wheel Chair Fencing Rules
Rio 2016 is open to athletes with spinal injuries, lower leg amputations and cerebral palsy. Athletes who require the general use of a wheelchair are also eligible.
Wheelchairs are fastened to the floor, allowing freedom of the upper body. Although they can't move forwards or backwards the freedom of the upper body makes for an exciting dual.
Bouts last a maximum of four minutes with victory going to the fencer who scores five valid hits. The top competitors are promoted to a direct elimination where bouts are awarded to the first to get 15 hits.
Where can I find a Martial Arts Class?
If the Paralympics has inspired you to become a future Olympian then visit Martial Arts Near You and find an instructor near you today! There are martial arts clubs all across the UK offering Judo and Fencing so why not give it a try?
Once you have found a local martial arts club you can enquire online and even book yourself in there and then! What are you waiting for? Take the initiative just like our Paralympic athletes did!