By Owen Morgan
Another four Welsh athletes have been named in the Great Britain team for the Tokyo Paralympics, taking the total to a magnificent seven.
Reigning Paralympic champions Aled Davies and Hollie Arnold, along with Sabrina Fortune had already been named in the first wave of selections last month.
They will be joined on the plane to Japan by Harrison Walsh, Olivia Breen, Harri Jenkins and Kyron Duke after the final 42-strong team was announced on Wednesday.
Walsh’s selection is the latest chapter in a remarkable return to top level sport after his promising rugby career with the Ospreys was ended by a freak injury while playing for Swansea in 2015.
Such was the severity of the damage Walsh suffered on the pitch, it not only ended his rugby ambitions but left him with only partial movement and no feeling in his right foot.
But the Mumbles man has transformed himself into an international thrower who celebrated his senior GB debut last month by winning a bronze medal in the F44 discus at the European Para Athletics Championships in Poland.
Wednesday’s team announcement will have been particularly welcome for sprinter and long jumper Breen who has been at the centre of a controversy this week after an official told her the briefs she was wearing while competing at last weekend’s English Championships were “too short and revealing”.
Absolutely delighted to say I have been selected for my 3rd Paralympic Games in Tokyo in the 100m and long jump! I am over the moon and I want to say a massive thank you to my coach, S&C coach, therapists and family and friends for all of their support! 🥰 pic.twitter.com/bwP7XgN6Mv
— oliviabreen (@BreenOlivia) July 21, 2021
Breen, who took to social media to highlight the incident in order to stop it happening to other athletes, has received huge support after her story hit the headlines around the globe.
The City of Portsmouth athlete said she had been wearing the same style of competition briefs for the past nine years.
During that time the T38 athlete has amassed an impressive array of medals including golds for Wales in the long jump at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and for GB at the 2017 IPC World Championships as well as 4x100m gold at the 2015 World Championships.
Tokyo will be Breen’s third Paralympics having competed at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games.
T33 wheelchair racer Jenkins has also been in the news away from the track recently.
Siri, show me a photographic representation of the patriarchy https://t.co/65xF6mzyAL
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) July 21, 2021
In May, the Neath athlete’s day chair was stolen while he trained on Aberavon Beach.
Fortunately, the chair was returned and Jenkins went on to compete at the European Para Championships in Poland where he claimed a bronze medal in the T33/T34 100m.
The fourth Welsh athlete named on Wednesday was Duke, who also claimed a medal in Poland last month. The Disability Sport Wales Para Academy athlete won a silver medal in the F41 shot put.
Tokyo will be Duke’s third Paralympics having reached shot put and javelin finals at both London and Rio games.
Arnold, Davies and Fortune were named in the first batch of 12 selections in June.
Arnold, who won Commonwealth Games gold for Wales in 2018, will be looking to defend the title she won five years ago in Rio in the women’s F46 javelin.
The Blackheath and Bromley athlete is the javelin world record holder and IPC World Champion.
Davies will be competing at his third summer Games, having claimed discus gold at the London 2012 games and shot put gold at the Rio 2016 games.
The Cardiff athlete, who won his seventh European Para Athletics Championships gold medal in Poland, will once again be competing in the F63 shot put category in Japan.
Deeside AAC athlete Fortune won bronze in the F20 shot put at the Rio Olympics and went on win gold medals at the 2018 World Paralympics European Championships in Berlin and the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
Para Athletics head coach at UK Athletics, Paula Dunn, said of the selections: “I am proud to announce our team for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“We have selected an incredibly strong squad of athletes who have excelled at past Games, to those who have progressed significantly during the last cycle, to a number of Futures Academy athletes who have stepped up in recent times to put themselves in contention.
“It is a testament to all the hard work from the athletes, coaches and their support networks, their family and friends. We will be supporting everyone on the team so they will be in the best position to achieve their goals in Japan next month.”
“You’ve got your voice…Disability will never stop you and if you have someone to support you, you will get much farther than you thought.” – Sabrina Fortune, Multi-Medallist and Paralympian, Athletics #IWD2021 #ChoosetoChallenge pic.twitter.com/WsF2qsgkBr
— UKSportsAssociation (@UKSAPLD) March 8, 2021
Paralympics GB’s Chef de Mission, Penny Briscoe, added: “I am delighted to welcome this fantastic group of talented Para athletes to the Paralympics GB squad for Tokyo 2020, following the first cohort of athletes announced last month.
“Every single team member has shown superb determination and resilience, particularly over the last 18 months, and I have no doubt they will make the nation proud in Tokyo next month.”
The full Paralympics GB Athletics team for the Tokyo Games which start on August 24 is:
Kare Adenegan (Job King, Coventry) – T34 100m and 800m
Hollie Arnold (David Turner, Blackheath and Bromley) – F46 Javelin
Olivia Breen (Aston Moore, City of Portsmouth) – T38 Long Jump and 100m
Jo Butterfield (Phil Peat, Forth Valley Flyers) – F51 Club Throw
Lydia Church (Jim Edwards; Peterborough and Nene Valley) – F12 Shot Put
Libby Clegg (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) [guide runner: Chris Clarke] – T11 200m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks, Leeds) – T34 100m and 800m
Kadeena Cox (Joe McDonnell, Sale Harriers Manchester) – T38 400m
Sabrina Fortune (Ian Robinson, Deeside) – F20 Shot Put
Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste, Charnwood) – T38 100m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk, Bristol and West) – T64 100m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Sammi Kinghorn (Rodger Harkins, Red Star) – T53 100m, 400m, 800m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Maria Lyle (Jamie Bowie, Team East Lothian) – T35 100m and 200m
Polly Maton (Colin Baross; Team Devizes) – T47 Long Jump
Anna Nicholson (Richard Kaufman; Gateshead) – F35 Shot Put
Gemma Prescott (Mike Wood, British Wheelchair Athletics Association) – F32 Club Throw
Stef Reid (Aston Moore, Charnwood) – T64 Long Jump
Hannah Taunton (Charlotte Fisher; Taunton) – T20 1500m
Ali Smith (Benke Blomkvist; Guildford & Godalming) – T38 100m, 400m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Vanessa Wallace (Alison O’Riordan, Enfield and Haringey) – F34 Shot Put
Columba Blango (Chris Zah; Shaftesbury Barnet) – T20 400m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Graham Ravenscroft, Newham and Essex Beagles) – T64 High Jump
Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks, Harlow) – T54 400m, 800m and 1500m
Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff) – F63 Shot Put
David Devine (Anthony Clarke, Liverpool) – T13 5000m
Kyron Duke (Ryan Spencer-Jones, DSW Para Academy) – F41 Shot Put
Dan Greaves (Zane Duquemin, Charnwood) – F64 Discus
Harri Jenkins (Nathan Stephens, DSW Para Academy) – T33 100m
Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins; Kirkby) – T54 400m, 800m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Owen Miller (Steven Doig, Fife) – T20 1500m
Luke Nuttall (Alison Wyeth, Charnwood) – T46 1500m
Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff, Charnwood) – T64 100m and 4x100m Universal Relay
Dan Pembroke (David Turner; Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) – F13 Javelin
Derek Rae (Ron Morrison, Fife) – T46 Marathon
Ben Rowlings (Coventry) – T34 100m and 800m
Daniel Sidbury (Christine Parsloe; Sutton & District) – T54 400m, 800m, 1500m and 5000m
Zak Skinner (Aston Moore; Loughborough Students) – T13 Long Jump and 100m
Andrew Small (Rick Hoskins, Stockport) – T33 100m
JohnBoy Smith (Christine Parsloe, Weir Archer Academy) – T54 Marathon
Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman, Kirkby) – T34 800m
Harrison Walsh (Nathan Stephens; Swansea) – F64 Discus
David Weir (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) – T54 1500m, 5000m and Marathon
Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine, Southwell) – T61 200m
Thomas Young (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) – T38 100m