Six Paralympic champions among first group named in GB team for Tokyo Games

Six reigning Paralympic champions have been named in the first wave of para athletes who will represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Games later this summer.

Hollie Arnold, Jo Butterfield, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies, Sophie Hahn and Richard Whitehead were all gold medallists in Rio five years ago and will help spearhead the ParalympicsGB team in Japan.

Para athletics head coach Paula Dunn said: “It has been a long wait for these athletes, but this is a significant milestone in their career, so I hope they savour this moment and reflect on their achievement so far and use it to fuel them in the final few weeks of preparation for the Games.

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“I am proud of how these athletes have conducted themselves over the last year or so under very challenging circumstances.

“They have kept their focus on their goals in a year like no other, and I wish them all the best over these final few weeks of preparation prior to the Games. I am looking forward to seeing how they all perform out in Tokyo.”

The other six athletes named in the first wave of selection are Kare Adenegan, Jonathan Broom-Edwards, Sabrina Fortune, Maria Lyle, Andrew Small and Thomas Young.

Cockroft heads to Tokyo in form, having lowered her own world records in the women’s T34 100 metres, 200m, 400m and 800m in Switzerland in May.

Whitehead and Davies – who will each be participating in their third Games – will compete in the T61 200m and F63 shot put respectively.

Aled Davies will defend his shot put title in Tokyo
Aled Davies will defend his shot put title in Tokyo (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Arnold is on course for her fourth appearance at a Paralympic Games and will aim to defend her F46 javelin title from Rio.

Hahn won gold in the T38 100m in Brazil and will be aiming to retain her crown in Tokyo, as will F51 club throw champion Butterfield.

ParalympicsGB chef de mission Penny Briscoe said: “It’s a great pleasure to welcome such talented athletes to the ParalympicsGB team with just over 60 days to go before the Games get under way in Tokyo.

“This tremendous group of athletes from both track and field has already shown great ability on the global stage, including gold and silver medal-winning performances at the last World Championships.

“I am in no doubt that their talent and experience will stand them in great stead at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and I look forward to joining them on that journey.”

The remainder of the squad will be announced on July 21, British Athletics said. The Tokyo Games begin on August 24.