6 Paralympians from our area to watch out for at Tokyo 2020
- Credit: PA
With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics underway, we look at six sporting stars from our area competing in the games who will be looking to return from the Land of the Rising Sun with a medal.
1. Jonnie Peacock – Shepreth
One of the most recognisable names at the Paralympics, Peacock is back in the Team GB fold for the first time since 2017 and is chasing a third consecutive gold medal in the T44 100m race.
Born in Cambridge but growing up in nearby Shepreth, he lost his right leg just below the knee after contracting meningitis at the age of five.
At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Peacock won the 100m T44 final with a time of 10.90 seconds, claiming the gold and the Paralympic record in the process.
Four years later in Rio, the 28-year-old won gold again in a time of 10.81 seconds.
Having returned to the track after four years away, Peacock is looking forward to the race, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “Winning a third consecutive Paralympic title is something I never dreamed would be possible.
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“As elite athletes, this is the biggest stage. It is the 11 seconds that matter and I will give it absolutely everything.
“It will be a great spectacle and it's a race I would love to watch if I wasn't part of it.”
2. Jody Cundy – Hatfield
Born in Wisbech with a deformed foot which was amputated at a young age, Cundy has links to Hatfield a former member the town’s swimming club and an ex-University of Hertfordshire student.
The games in Tokyo will be his seventh Paralympics, having competed at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 as a swimmer, before turning his attentions to cycling for Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Back on the bike again for the individual pursuit C4 and the mixed team sprint, Cundy will be looking to add to the golds he won in Beijing and Rio, and the bronze in London.
3. Chris Ryan – Welwyn Garden City
From Welwyn Garden City, Ryan was a keen footballer and golfer before suffering a spinal injury in 2008 that left him a wheelchair.
He was introduced to wheelchair rugby at the spinal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital during his rehabilitation, joining the London Wheelchair Rugby Club in 2010.
Ryan was part of the team that finished fifth at the 2016 Rio games, but now as captain and off the back of winning the European Championships in Denmark in 2019, he and the team will be eyeing a medal in Tokyo.
4. Louise Fiddes – Hatfield
Already a world and European champion aged just 20, Fiddes will be looking to add a Paralympic medal to her collect when she competes in Tokyo.
The Hatfield Swimming Club star has already completed one of her races, finishing fifth in the Women's 100m butterfly S14, but she has three other chances to take home bronze, silver or gold.
Fiddes will also race in the 200m freestyle S14, 100m breaststroke SB14 and the 200m medley SM14.
5. George Peasgood – Saffron Walden
Peasgood will be competing in two different sports in Tokyo, highlighting not just his talent but determination to overcome a traumatic childhood injury that left him with a left leg longer than his right.
Primarily a triathlete having competed in the PTS5 at Rio 2016, finishing seventh, he will put his cycling skills to use in Tokyo when he rides in the C4-5 road race and the C4 time trial.
6. Laura Sugar – Saffron Walden
Another multi-sport star from Saffron Walden, Sugar played field hockey and competed in the T44 at the Rio 2016 games before taking up paracanoeing in 2018.
Having won silver at the ICF World Championships just a year after making her debut on the water, she will have one eye on a medal in Tokyo.