Paralympics Australia has finalised its Para-athletics team for Tokyo 2020 with the addition of 24 track and field stars. It takes the number of Para-athletes flying over to 36.
Included in the announcement are nine athletes making their Paralympics debut. London 2012 shot put gold medallist Todd Hodgetts will also be making the trip, as will Rio 2016 100 metres gold medallist Scott Reardon.
Reardon said the group was an exciting mix of youth and experience that will hold Australia in good stead at Tokyo 2020.
“If you look at the results from 2013 onwards, we’ve been building and we’ve got a good mix of youth and experience now,” Reardon said.
“At the 2017 and 2019 World Championships we had strong years, so now we’ve got to try and capitalise on some of those results.
“There are a number of people in this Team who are capable of winning medals – and top medals as well – which is fantastic.”
Reardon hasn’t competed internationally since he won his third 100 metres T42 title at the 2017 World Championships. Tokyo 2020 – as a result – will be a different task than his two prior Paralympics.
“It’s been a different process this time,” he admitted.
“I’ve had some challenges and issues over the past couple of years with injuries and then Covid and it definitely wasn’t a sure thing. So, it feels really great to be back in the Team. It’s exciting to have that opportunity to pull on the green and gold and run for Australia and hopefully bring home the result again.”
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Australian Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin is glad to round out the team, and now looks forward to a successful campaign in Japan.
“We named the first members of this squad back in September last year, so it’s been a long road for these athletes,” McLoughlin said.
“I’m so impressed by the way they’ve handled everything that’s come their way. They’ve well and truly earned their place in what’s clearly a strong Australian athletics Team, with established stars and several really exciting up-and-comers across a wide range of events.
“We have such a proud tradition in Para-athletics and I’m really excited to see this Team create their own history in Tokyo.”
Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Lynne Anderson echoed her statement, providing historical achievements that signify how far Australia’s Paralympic commitment has come.
“Since the first Games, in 1960, our Para-athletes have won an incredible 468 medals, including 153 gold medals,” she said.
“Now we watch in great anticipation as this group of wonderful athletes sets about performing at their very best for their country.
“Congratulations to each one of you and a big thank you to Athletics Australia for all you’ve done to prepare this Team for what I’m expecting will be a memorable campaign.”
With this announcement, the Para-athletics team for Australia is finalised. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are set to begin on August 24th and run for two weeks.
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