Wales at the Paralympics

Double gold-winning cyclist Simon Richardson at the lighting ceremony in front of the Paralympic Agitos outside Cardiff City Hall, marking the start of a day of Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations. The Welsh Flame was created at the summit of Snowdon Picture credit: London 2012

WALES is proud to have produced some of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians, such as Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chris Hallam and David Roberts.

Grey-Thompson won 16 Paralympic medals between 1988 and 2004 in wheelchair track events, 10 of the medals were gold. She also won gold in two world championships and the women’s wheelchair race at the London Marathon on six occasions. Read her full profile here.

In recent years, as the profile of the Paralympic Games has grown globally, Wales has made outstanding contributions to Team GB. At London 2012, Welsh athletes contributed 15 medals to the Great Britain Paralympic haul, Wales bringing home three gold medals thanks to Mark Colbourne, Aled Davies and Josie Pearson.

Meanwhile, English-born swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who trains in Swansea and is regarded as an ‘adopted’ Welsh girl, came away with four medals, including two golds.

At Beijing 2008, Wales had their previous best medal return, winning 14 of Team GB’s medals – 10 gold, three silver and one bronze.

Four gold medals were won by Welsh competitiors at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio 2016.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new dates for the Japan Games were later confirmed as August 24 to September 2021.

Welsh Paralympic icon Chris Hallam, whose life was featured in a BBC Wales documentary Picture credit: Cwmbran Life

Welsh Paralympic Heroes

Hollie Arnold MBE is a formidable talent and regarded as one of the most successful Paralympians in Britain. She has won Paralympic and World Championship gold medals and represents Wales in F46 javelin.

Her Commonwealth Games debut came in 2018 where she not only won another gold medal but also broke the world record in her last throw of the competition.

Arnold was born without her forearm but this has never stopped her from doing anything. Whilst at school, she attended a Star Track Athletics training course where she discovered a talent for throwing the javelin. This lead to her first disability sports event at the age of 11, where she won seven gold medals across several events.

Arnold moved to Hengoed in south Wales at an early age so that she could have the best possible training and coaching facilities. She attended Ystrad Mynach College and trained at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

In 2008, she was the youngest member of the Great Britain Paralympics Team at the Beijing Olympic Games at the age of 14. She finished in 11th place.

In 2012, Arnold took part in her second Paralympic Games in London, finishing fifth, and in her third Paralympics in Rio (2016) she won gold with a world record-breaking throw. In July 2017 she won gold at the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships in London where she beat her own world record with a throw of 43.02 metres.

In April 2018, Arnold won the gold medal with a world record throw of 44.43 metres at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where she represented Wales.

Her domination of the sport has been such that she also won four consecutive World Para Athletic Championship titles – 2013 Lyon, 2015 Doha, 2017 London and 2019 Dubai.

Arnold was made an MBE in 2017 in recognition of her inspirational sporting achievements.

In November 2020, Arnold took part in the 20th series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! at Abergele’s Gwrych Castle where she was the first contestant voted off the show.

Arnold is an ambassador for two charities: Caudwell Children and St Andrews Hospice, in Grimsby.

Hollie Arnold on her way to the gold medal at Rio 2016 Credit: Channel 4

Olivia ‘Livvy’ Breen is a Welsh Paralympian athlete, who competes mainly in T38 sprint and F38 long jump events. In 2012, she qualified for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, selected for the T38 100m and 200m sprint and the T35-38 women’s relay team. She represented Wales at both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the long jump at the Gold Coast games in 2018.

At the 2012 Paralympics, teenager Breen came fifth in the 100m final and eighth in the 200m. She ran the first leg of the 4x100m relay and won a bronze medal with team-mates Jenny McLoughlin, Bethy Woodward and Katrina Hart.

Olivia Breen takes a lap of honour with the Welsh flag Picture credit: Sky Sports

Mark Lee Colbourne MBE is a former Welsh paralympic-cyclist, who competed for both Wales and Great Britain, winning a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Colbourne was born on November 9, 1969 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire. He played volleyball at international level for Wales between 1990 and 1993.

He broke his back in 2009 after falling 35 feet when forced into an emergency landing whilst paragliding.

Following his accident Colbourne began cycling through Disability Sport Wales. He competed in the C1 classification for riders on upright bikes with the most severe disability. He trained with disabled cycling coach Neil Smith at the Newport Velodrome and made his first appearance in a track race in May 2010 at the Wales Grand Prix.

His first World Championship medal was a silver at the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships held in Roskilde, Denmark.

In 2012, Colbourne won his first world title, taking the gold medal in the C1 3km individual pursuit at the 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles, United States. At the same Championships he won the silver medal in the C1 1km time trial.

He was selected as part of the cycling team for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Colbourne won a silver medal and Great Britain’s first medal of the 2012 Paralympics, in the C1-3 1km time trial. On August 31, he won a gold medal in the C1 3km individual pursuit after breaking the world record in both the qualification round and the final.

A Royal Mail postbox outside Tredegar post office in Commercial Street was painted gold to commemorate the gold medal Colbourne won at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.

Colbourne was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to cycling. In August 2013 Colbourne announced his retirement from para-cycling.

Aled Siôn Davies MBE is a Welsh Paralympian athlete specialising in category F42 throwing events. In the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London he took the bronze medal in shot put and gold in the discus and four years later in Rio broke the Paralympic record three times on the way to retaining his shot put title.

Davies was born in Bridgend, south Wales in 1991, with hemimelia of the right leg. From a young age Davies enjoyed sports, representing Wales as a child at swimming.

In 2005 he switched to athletics deciding to commit to the shot put and discus. That decision proved justified as he won both disciplines at the 2009 Welsh Open.

In 2012, Davies was selected for the Great Britain Paralympic team in both events in the F42-44 category. He took the bronze medal in the shot put, recording a distance of 13.78. Two days later, Davies took part in the T42 discus. His first throw was a distance of 45.31m, and although he bettered this slightly on his third throw (45.37), none of his competitors were able to better his initial result. On his last throw, Davies already knew he was the Paralympic champion, and with it set a European record of 46.14m.

Like other gold medal winners in London, Davies had a Royal Mail postbox painted gold in his honour, in Gentle Way, Bridgend. He was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to athletics.

Later that year, Davies qualified for both shot and discus as part of the British team for the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. In the shot put Davies threw a distance of 14.71m, setting a new world record and securing the gold medal. He followed this with gold in the F42 discus, making him a double world champion.

His performance at Lyon saw Davies become one of five shortlisted competitors for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2013. Davies was also named Paralympic Sportsman of the Year at the 2013 Sports Journalists Association Awards.

In 2014, at the Cardiff Capital Throws in Leckwith, he improved on his world record again in the shot, throwing over 15 metres for the first time with a distance of 15.13m.

As part of the build-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Davies took part in the Queen’s Baton Relay on its leg through Wales. Davies was joined by members of the Eryri Harriers Athletics Club as the baton was taken to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales.

At the Commonwealth Games, Davies, who was team captain, finished second behind England’s Dan Greaves. Davies was hurt by failing to take the gold, and used the experience to spur him on at the forthcoming European Championships.

Davies returned to his home country to compete in the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea as he aimed for double gold. Buoyed on by the home crowd, Davies did not disappoint. He took the gold in the shot put with a throw of 13.66m to win convincingly. In the discus, Davies threw 46.46m to take his second gold medal of the Championships.

In the build-up to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, Davies took part in his third IPC World Championships, the 2015 Games in Doha, despite undergoing a hernia operation just 10 weeks before. In the shot put finals Davies abandoned technique for power and threw a 14.88 and then a Championship record of 14.95 to secure the gold medal. He was also dominant in the discus, breaking his own world record on three occasions on his way to a second gold, his best distance being 49.59m.

Davies ended the year by being shortlisted for the 2015 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year for the second time.

He retained both his European titles the following year, his winning discus throw of 54.14m adding almost five metres onto his world record set in Doha eight months previously.

Davies broke the Paralympic shot put record three times on the way to winning gold in Rio 2016. He threw new bests in the first, second and third rounds, setting a new mark of 15.97m with his third throw. He was unable to defend his F42 discus title after the event was cut from the Rio 2016 Games.

Aled Davies celebrates his gold-medal winning performance at Rio 2016 Credit: Channel 4

Brecon’s Davies claimed the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in the final of the Class 1 table tennis against Young Dae Joo of Korea. He came out a 3-1 winner, 14-12, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5.

World number one Davies is a former Brecon rugby player who suffered a broken neck in September 2005 following a collapsed scrum against Ynysybwl.

Gareth Duke is a former Paralympic swimmer from Great Britain competing in S6 classification events. Duke attended two Summer Paralympic Games, winning gold in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. Duke has represented Britain at two IPC Swimming World Championships and has also held world records in several events. He is the cousin of para-athlete Kyron Duke.

Duke was born in Cwmbran in Wales in 1986. As well as having achondroplasia, Duke was born with Alport’s syndrome, a kidney disease. After suffering kidney failure he received a donor kidney in 2006 from his father, but when this failed Duke was forced to go on dialysis. He underwent another kidney transplant in 2010, receiving a kidney from his uncle, however the organ failed after about 16 months in July 2011, resulting in Duke retiring from swimming.

Kyron Duke is a powerlifter and Paralympian track and field athlete competing in category F41 throwing events. Duke represented Wales in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in powerlifting and went on to qualify for the 2012 London Summer Paralympics in javelin and shot put.

Duke was born in Newport, south Wales, with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. His older cousin, Gareth Duke, also has the same condition and represented Great Britain as a swimmer in the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games, winning gold, silver and bronze medals.

Duke took up powerlifting at the age of 12 and became junior champion at the para-sport in October 2009. He represented Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the EAD (elite athletes with a disability) category benchpress.

Duke qualified for the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships at the men’s F40 javelin, his throw of 32.64m earning him the bronze medal. He would go on to achieve a further four bronze or silver medals at the next three World Championships, in Lyon, Doha and London.

In 2011 Duke took part in a documentary for Channel 4 in the UK, as part of the Best of British series. He, along with athlete Sean Clare, took part in the programme which attempted to challenge preconceptions associated with their stature.

Duke recorded his personal best in both shot put (11.19m) and javelin (37.39) at the Welsh Championships in Cardiff in 2012 and picked up javelin and shot put silver medals in the 2014 European Championships in Swansea.

The 19 year-old from Flintshire became the first Welsh athlete to win a Paralympic medal at Rio 2016. Fortune set an F20 shot put personal best of 12.94m to secure bronze.

“You can’t picture something as amazing as this,” she said. “I came here for a PB. I didn’t think I’d get a medal as well. It was an absolute honour to run around that track with the GB flag flying behind you.”

The Cardigan-born 23 year-old secured silver with John Stubbs in the mixed team compound archery after being beaten 151-143 by China in the final.

“John and I have competed together in a few competitions but have never done better than bronze, so to do so at the Paralympic Games is amazing,” said Grinham after making her Paralympic debut.

Her previous biggest achievement was at the 2015 Para World Ranking Tournament in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, where she won a bronze mixed team medal.

Chris Hallam MBE was a Welsh Paralympian and wheelchair athlete. He competed for Great Britain at four Paralympic Games; Stoke Mandeville, England (1984), Seoul, South Korea (1988), Barcelona, Spain (1992) and Atlanta, United States (1996), as well as for Wales at two Commonwealth Games; Auckland, New Zealand (1990) and Victoria, British Columbia (1994).

Born on December 31, 1962, in Derbyshire, Hallam was raised in Cwmbran, south Wales. He attended Llantarnam School, where he became a competitive swimmer, with aspirations of competing for Wales.

A motorcycle accident at age 17 (en route to a training session) resulted in him becoming a wheelchair user. After rehabilitation he spent some time living and travelling in South Africa, before returning to the UK and becoming involved in wheelchair sport. He later studied for his undergraduate and MBA degrees at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

He won the London marathon twice, and broke the course record both times, in 1985 and 1987. He also won the Great North Run on four occasions (1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990).

He competed at two Commonwealth Games, in New Zealand (1990), and in Victoria, British Columbia (1994), respectively, as well as World and European Championships. Chris took the bronze medal at the 100m wheelchair race during the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona.

He twice pushed his way around Wales (in 1987, 1997) with his training partner and fellow Paralympian John Harris, to raise money for a purpose-built, wheelchair-accessible training centre at Cyncoed, Cardiff.

As an administrator he organised several national events, and was chairman of the British Wheelchair Racing Association from 1990 to 1992. In his coaching career he worked with several successful British athletes, including Rose Hill, the British record holder for the marathon, and Dan Lucker, who became world junior champion.

In 2002 he became a Winston Churchill Fellow, writing his report on the access of disabled people to specialist training equipment and gyms.

Despite a successful kidney transplant in 1996, in latter years he experienced ill health. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2011 and received chemotherapy treatment, but died on August 16, 2013, aged 50.

Hallam was the subject of episode one of the 2019 BBC series Mavericks: Sport’s Lost Heroes.

Paralympic medallist Rhiannon Henry was part of the British Para-swimming programme for a number of years, with her highlight winning two bronze medals at the Athens Games in 2004 and becoming world champion in the 100m butterfly in 2010.

When she announced her retirement from competitive sport in 2015, she had been part of the Great Britain team for 14 years.

She transferred to the sport of Para-cycling and competed for Wales at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. She won gold for GB at Para-triathlon in her first international race.

“I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much throughout my career and I will always treasure the experiences I have had,” said Henry. “I owe a huge amount to all those coaches who coached me from grass roots up, and gave up their valuable time to help me achieve my dreams.”

John Harris was born in 1945 at Sebastopol, Torfaen, a suburb of Pontypool in south Wales. A keen athlete as a youth, Harris was involved in gymnastics, rugby union and boxing.

At the age of 18, he was on holiday at a Butlins holiday camp when he fell 18 metres from a big wheel resulting in the paralysis of his legs. The injury left him hospital for five months, and after his release, by his own admission, he “wasted the next three years in the pub”.

Harris’s involvement in para-sports began when a friend persuaded him to attend a gym in an attempt to improve his fitness and give him focus. Harris then joined a paraplegic sports club and showed promising as a competitor after winning multiple events at a local sport event.

His progress was noticed and the next year he was selected for the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Harris entered three events, the category 5 discus and shot put and the 85kg Light-heavyweight weightlifting.

At the 1984 Games in Stoke Mandeville, England, Harris was entered for the discus, shot put and javelin. Before taking part in the events, he was chosen to take the Paralympic Oath on behalf of all the athletes, an event he described as a “phenomenal honour”. His main focus for a medal was the discus. Before his final attempt he was sitting in sixth place, but his Paralympic record-breaking throw gave him the gold medal.

In 1986, Harris joined up with his training partner and good friend Chris Hallam, who was also an outstanding Paralympic athlete having won gold in the pool at Stoke Mandeville. The two decided to raise funds for, and awareness of, disability sport by taking part in a 400-mile wheelchair trip around Wales in just 11 days.

This led to a further fund-raising event in 1997 when the two men completed 600 miles in 37 days. The funds they raised allowed for the building of a national centre for disability sport at the University of Wales Institute, Cyncoed, Cardiff.

In 1988 Harris took part in his third Paralympics, joining the GB team when they travelled to Seoul. He threw 34.98m in the discus to take silver and finished fourth in the pentathlon, but was later upgraded to the bronze medal.

Harris took part in two more Paralympics, though he did not medal again. At the 1992 Games in Barcelona he competed in the javelin, pentathlon and 4×100m relay, while in 1996 he represented GB in the pentathlon.

Harris was the subject of the This Is Your Life television programme in 1986 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.

John Harris recalls his appearance on This is Your Life Credit: Big Red Book

In 2013, he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.

Tracey Hinton is a visually impaired Paralympic athlete and world-record holder from Cardiff. A member of Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club, Hinton has been blind since having cancer of the retina aged four which resulted in her losing her sight. She has won three silver and three bronze medals at Paralympic level.

She competed in the 1992 Paralympics, winning a silver medal in the 400m B1, a silver medal in the 200m B1 and a bronze medal in the 100m B1. In 2000 she won bronze medals in the T11 200m and T11 400m and silver in the T12 800m. She broke the 800m world record in her class with a time of 2min:17.66sec.

Hinton was selected to compete in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, her sixth games, and chosen as captain of the women’s athletics squad for Great Britain.

Hinton participated for Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T11/T12 100m, qualifying for the final with a run of 13.79 seconds with her guide Stefan Hughes.

Jordan Howe is a Paralympian athlete from Wales competing in category T35 sprinting events. Howe qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in the 100m and 200m.

Born in Cardiff in 1995, Howe, has cerebral palsy, but enjoyed sports from a young age, and was a youth swimmer at national level and a member of the Dragons Disabled Swimming Club before discovering athletics.

He picked up a brace of bronze medals in both the Swansea 2014 and Grosseto 2016 European Championships.

In 2017, Howe won a 100m T35 silver medal at the World Para-athletics Championships in London, recording a personal best of 12.52 seconds.

The winner of hundreds of medals and titles on the track and a regular competitor at major Games, para-athlete Teresa John was a great ambassador for Welsh and British sport around the world.

Liz Johnson is a Welsh swimmer who won medals in three successive Paralympic Games between 2004 and 2012. She has cerebral palsy, placing her in the S6 classification.

Specialising in breaststroke, she is one of a select few to have won gold medals in the Paralympics, World Championships and European Championships.

Johnson was born on December 3, 1985, in Newport, south Wales. At the age of three, she was encouraged by her mother to join a group for disabled swimmers to strengthen and relax her muscles. She was selected to swim for Team GB at the age of 14.

Johnson attended Swansea University and in 2008, completed a degree in business management and finance.

At the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban South Africa, Johnson won an individual gold medal in the 100m breaststroke and two relay golds. She repeated her breaststroke success at the 2009 event, breaking the world record in the process, and also picked up two individual medley bronze medals.

She won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the 2008 Paralympics, 11 days after the death of her mother, dedicating the victory to her memory.
Liz Johnson winning a thrilling final of the 100m breaststroke at Beijing 2008

Johnson added to her Paralympic medal collection at London 2012 Paralympics, as she set a new Paralympic record en route. Johnson recorded a season’s best time of 1:40.90, to take the bronze medal in the SB6 100m backstroke.

In the build-up towards a fourth Paralympics at Rio, Johnson underwent an operation for a hernia. While recovering, she found herself falling behind in her training, which impacted on her preparation for the 2016 Paralympic trials. Her failure to make the trials resulted in her decision to retire from competitive swimming.

Johnson’s successes were recognised when, in April 2011, she was given the honour of laying the final tile in the competition pool at the London Aquatics Centre. She was also selected as the Paralympic Oath taker for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

In July 2016, Johnson appeared in the 11th series of Celebrity Masterchef on BBC One.

In August 2018, Johnson announced starting ‘The Ability People’ an organization aimed at recruiting disabled people alongside able-bodied people without discrimination. Also in 2018, she featured on the BBC’s 100 Women list.

Liz Johnson discusses her Paralympic career Credit: Speakers Corner

Beverley Jones is a Paralympian from Wales competing in category F37 throwing events. Jones won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games as an EAD in the 100m sprint. She has qualified for five Paralympics from 2000 to 2016 finishing fourth twice, in the sprint in 2000 at Sydney and in the shot put at Athens in 2004.

Jones was born in Queensferry, Flintshire, north Wales, in 1974. Jones, who has cerebral palsy, played cricket for Wales and was in the team that beat England at Lord’s in 1996.

She was introduced to athletics at the Wrexham Sports Club for the Disabled in 1997 and began entering sprinting events in 1998. In 2000, she was selected for the Great Britain team at the Paralympics, competing in the T38 sprints and made the finals in both the 100m and 200m.

In 2004, Jones was again selected for the Athens Paralympics, this time qualifying as F38 for the combined F37/38 shot put, finishing just outside the medals in fourth place. She was reclassified to the higher disability grade of F37 after the competition.

In the 2005 CP World Championships in Connecticut, USA, she took gold in the shot put, 100m and 200m sprints. At the 2006 IPC World Athletics Championships in Assen, Netherlands, she set an F37 shot put world record of 10.57m.

Jones was still combining her shot put with sprinting when she was chosen to represent Wales at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Since the Manchester Games in 2002, the Commonwealth Games had introduced a limited number of events for elite athletes with a disability. The only T37 event at the Games was women’s sprinting, for which Jones qualified, winning the bronze medal in the final.

As of the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, Jones began concentrating on throwing events, mainly discus and shot put. She qualified for both events in China, finishing 5th in the T37 shot put and 7th in the T37 discus with a European record throw of 27.27m. Her 5th place in shot put saw Jones throwing her personal best of 10.35m.

In 2011, Jones represented Team GB in both the shot and discus at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand. She threw a European record in the discus of 30.62m, but was unable to beat Na Mi of China, and finished with a silver medal.

London 2012 was Jones’s fourth Paralympic Games, on this occasion in the F37 shot put and the F37 discus. In her first event, the shot put, she threw 9.85m to end in seventh place. Later in the Games, she recorded a distance of 30.99m in the discus which gave Jones a bronze medal, her first Paralympic podium finish.

Jones qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games in F37 discus and placed fifth with a throw of 28.53m.

Rhys Jones is a Paralympic athlete from Wales competing in category T37 sprinting events. Jones qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in both the 100m and 200m, making the final of the 200 at his first major games.

Jones, who was born in Church Village, near Pontypridd, in 1994, has cerebral palsy, and played football for a pan-disability side before switching to athletics after attending a Disability Sports Wales trial.

He attended his first junior competition, in Blackpool in 2008, winning four gold medals in the T37 category. By 2010 he was entering senior championships, competing in sprints and the long jump in the 2008 CP National Championships in Nottingham.

In 2011, Jones entered events across Europe, taking first place at the Czech Open. He posted two personal bests in 2012, 12.25sec in the 100m sprint at Birmingham and 25.24sec in the 200m in the London Disability Athletics Challenge.

He qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in both 100m and 200m sprint and followed his first Games by qualifying for the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, finishing 7th in the 100m and 8th in the 200m.

In 2014, Jones was named in the Wales squad for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He ran in the T37 100m, qualifying through the first heat in second place with a time of 12.10 and in the final he posted a time of 12.04 to take the bronze medal.

The following year Jones was named in the GB team for the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha. He competed in the T47 100m, and finished eighth in the final.

In 2016, Jones competed at the IPC Grand Final at the Olympic Park in London. Now focusing solely on the 100 metres sprint, he finished third in a time of 11.87. His results in 2016 saw him qualify for the Rio Paralympics where, competing in the men’s 100m T37, he qualified as a fastest loser in the heats.

Rhondda-born Nyree Elise Kindred MBE is a Welsh swimmer who competed in the Paralympic Games on four occasions, winning 10 medals.

Kindred (née Lewis; born September 21, 1980) took up swimming at the age of five. She has a form of cerebral palsy and therefore competed in the S6 (butterfly, backstroke, freestyle), SM6 (medley) and SB5 (breaststroke) classifications.

Kindred’s first appearance at a Paralympics came at the 2000 Games in Sydney, where she won three medals, two silver and a bronze.

In 2004, Kindred won her first Paralympic gold medal in the S6 100 metres backstroke, in a new Paralympic record time of 1:32.03. She followed this up with another gold in the 4×50m medley relay, silver medals in both the 100m breaststroke SB5 and 200m SM6 individual medley, and a bronze in the 400m freestyle S6.

In the 100 metres S6 backstroke at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing Kindred was beaten into second place by Dutch swimmer Mirjam de Koning-Peper. In addition to this medal-winning performance Kindred also reached the finals of the 100m breaststroke SB5 (finishing 4th), 200m SM6 individual medley and 400m freestyle S6.

In April 2012, she qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in London in the S6 100m backstroke. In the final she finished second to collect the silver medal with a time of 1:26.23.

On top of her success at the Paralympics, Kindred has won seven International Paralympic Committee World Championship medals and seven European Championship medals.

Kindred’s husband is fellow British Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Sascha Kindred. Together the pair became known as the ‘golden couple’ of British disability swimming. The couple’s first child, Ella, was born in 2011.

Kindred was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Nyree Kindred reflects on her Paralympic silver medal in London 2012 Credit: British Swimming

John McFall is a Cardiff-based British Paralympic sprinter, one of the fastest men in the world in the class of above-the-knee amputees. In 2000, when he was 19 years-old, his right leg was amputated above the knee following a serious motorcycle accident.

He took up running again after being fitted with a prosthesis, and participated in his first race in 2004. The following year, he was selected to represent Great Britain at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Championships, and took the bronze medal in the 200 metres (class T42).

In the 100m sprint, McFall subsequently won silver medals at the IPC World Championships in 2006 and the Visa Paralympic World Cup in 2007. In the 200 metres, he achieved a bronze in the 2006 IPC World Championships, and a gold at the 2007 Visa Paralympic World Cup with a competition record time of 26.84 seconds.

In September 2007, McFall was champion in both the 100 and 200 metres at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Wheelchair and Amputee Games. He was ranked first in the world in 2007 for the 200 metres and second for the 100.

McFall competed for Great Britain in the 100 metres (T42) at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, winning the bronze in a time of 13.08 seconds.

Jenny McLoughlin is a British Paralympian track and field athlete competing mainly in T37 sprint events. She represented Great Britain in the 2008 Paralympics and in the 2012 Paralympics in London.

After moving to Wales at the age of 14, she became eligible to join the Wales team for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and won a silver medal in the T37 sprint in Delhi, India. That year, she also completed her A-levels, which allowed her to take up a degree at Cardiff University.

McLoughlin, who was born in Stockport in England in 1991, has cerebral palsy. She joined an athletics club when her family moved to Wales in 2005. She joined the athletics team and switched her training ground to Cardiff in 2007, taking the UK School Games gold that year.

McLoughlin was selected to represent Great Britain in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, in both the 100m and 200m. She qualified for the 100m final after running a personal best of 14.99sec, and although improving on that in the final with a time of 14.78, she finished 7th. She also reached the finals of the 200m.

McLoughlin continued to improve in 2012, posting her first sub-30-second time for the 200m at the Samsung Diamond League in July. She also improved her 100m personal best with a time of 14.68sec at the German National Paralympic Championships. These results helped McLoughlin qualify for the 2012 Paralympics in London, representing Team GB in the T37 100 and 200 metres and as part of the 100m relay.

In 2013, McLoughlin was ruled out of the IPC World Championships through injury. However, in 2014 McLoughlin came back to finish a credible fifth at the IPC European Championships. There was more medal success in the relay for McLoughlin, as she anchored the T35-38 relay team of Olivia Breen Bethany Woodward and Sophie Hahn home to silver in a British record of 53.84sec.

Para-rower Rachel Morris became the first Welsh gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Paralympics with victory in the arms-shoulders single sculls.

The 37-year-old from Farnham, whose family hail from Pembrokeshire, finished ahead of China’s Lili Wang.

The Welsh competitor, had both legs amputated because of complex regional pain syndrome, switched to rowing in 2013 to win three Paralympic medals across two sports, adding to the hand-cycling time trial gold she won in Beijing in 2008 and bronze at London 2012.

Steve Morris is a Paralympic athlete from Cardiff who competes in middle-distance events in the T20 classification and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Paralympics in London and 2016 Games in Rio.

Morris was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of three. He attended Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, in the same year group as Wales and British Lions captain Sam Warburton and Wales footballer Gareth Bale. Morris first became involved in athletics while at school and began competing in 2006.

His classification was removed from the Summer Games itinerary, but T20 athletes were reintroduced for the 2012 Paralympics in London, and Morris was selected to represent Great Britain in the 1,500 metres race.

There were no heats for the race and the final was held on September 4 with a field of 11 athletes, Morris finishing sixth with a time of 4:02.50. His personal best of 3:58.93, that he set two months earlier at the BMC Grand Prix in Stretford, would have been good enough for the silver medal position.

In 2013 Morris was again chosen to represent Great Britain, this time at the IPC World Championships in Lyon in the 1,500m (T20), finishing in eighth place. Morris was selected for the 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships in Grosseto. He competed in both the 800 and 1,500 metres, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

In the build-up to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Morris recorded personal bests in the 800m (1:56.06, a British record) and 1,500m (3:56.24, a European record). In late July Morris was confirmed as a member of the Great Britain team to compete at the Rio Paralympics, where he finished sixth in the 1500m.

In 2017, Morris again represented Great Britain at World Championship level when he finished fifth in the 5,000m in London.

Josie Pearson MBE is a Paralympian wheelchair rugby player and athlete. Pearson represented Great Britain in the 2008 Paralympics, becoming the first women to take part in wheelchair rugby for her country at the Paralympics.

After competing as a sprint athlete, Pearson switched to throwing events and qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in both discus and club throw in the F51 class, eventually taking the gold in discus with a world record distance.

Pearson was born in Bristol in 1986 and grew up in the village of Brilley, Herefordshire. She later moved to Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border. A keen show jumper, she was involved in a head-on car collision near Goytre in Wales in May 2003. The accident, in which her boyfriend died, resulted in Pearson breaking two bones in her neck and suffering permanent spinal damage. Her legs were paralysed but she retained some use of her arms.

While Pearson at first wished to continue riding, her injuries made that course difficult. She continued her sporting endeavours and along with appearing in a dressage exhibition in 2005, she also trained as a wheelchair racer in 100, 200 and 400m events.

She began wheelchair rugby while studying neuroscience at Cardiff University, and while there she contacted the local club, Cardiff Pirates. Accepted into the team, she decided to leave university after a year to concentrate on making the Paralympic squad, a goal she had followed since watching the Athens Games.

In November 2006 she was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2008 Paralympics. The team finished just outside the medals, after losing to Canada in the bronze medal decider.

In 2011 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand she finished 5th in both the 100m and 800m events, but was disqualified in both the 200m and 400m races. Frustrated by her performance, Pearson decided to leave wheelchair racing and switched to throwing events.

In 2012, Pearson won gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, breaking the F51 discus world record in the process.

As part of the Olympic and Paralympic home-nation celebrations, the Royal Mail issued a stamp of each of the gold-winning medalists, as well as painting a post-box in their home town gold. Pearson chose Hay-on-Wye, on the Welsh side of the Wales-England border in Powys, as the location for her golden post-box.

Pearson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to athletics.

In 2013 Pearson qualified for the discus and club throw as part of the British team for the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. In the discus Pearson threw a distance of 7.09m, setting a new world record and securing the gold medal. Four days later she recorded a personal best in the club throw to win bronze.

In 2014, Pearson won silver in the club throw at the IPC European Championships.

Cardiff-bred Phil Pratt was the seventh and final Welsh member of Paralympics GB to win a medal in Rio. The 22-year-old helped GB secure an 82-76 overtime win against Turkey in the bronze medal match, prompting an emotional response from the players and their fans. The match was tied 65-65 at the end of normal time.

Simon Richardson MBE is a Welsh Paralympic racing cyclist from Porthcawl.

In 2001 he was involved in a car accident which left him with serious leg and back injuries and no feeling down his left-hand side. Prior to his accident Richardson was a keen cyclist, but he stopped cycling until 2005 when his doctors advised him to start training again to help his rehabilitation.

Richardson cycled powered only by his right leg, riding an adapted bike. He made his debut in the Welsh national team in 2006, competing at the Welsh Grand Prix and entered the road race and time trial, finishing seventh and fifth respectively.

Richardson was coached by Courtney Rowe and trained at the Wales National Velodrome, situated in the Newport International Sports Village. His development was organised through the Disability Sport Wales Performance Programme.

Richardson competed at the 2008 Paralympics held in Beijing, China, initially in the LC 3–4 class, finishing in a world record time of 1 minute 14.936 seconds. This time secured the gold medal and was his first win in a major event.

He later competed in the LC3–4 3km individual pursuit, finishing in 3 minutes 49.214 seconds which secured his second gold medal of the Games.

Richardson went on to take silver in the LC3 class road time trial in a time of 38 minutes 23.73 seconds, 23.42 seconds behind gold medallist Laurent Thirionet. He also competed in the men’s individual road race , finishing in 10th place.

Richardson was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to disabled sport.

In August 2011, Richardson was injured when struck by a hit and run driver, whilst he was cycling on the A48 between Cowbridge and Bridgend, south Wales. He was described as being in “critical condition”, with “fractures to the spine, a broken pelvis, a broken breast bone, cuts to his legs, and a detached lung”. The injuries meant that he was unable to compete at the 2012 Paralympics in London, despite being regarded as a leading medal contender.

David Roberts CBE is the most decorated male Paralympian the UK has ever produced. His gold medal tally equals that of Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sarah Storey, a joint record for the most Paralympic titles ever won by a British athlete.

Roberts went to Llwyncrwn Primary School and moved on to Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 11 and was encouraged to participate in swimming activities as a form of physical therapy. He became a professional disabled swimmer, representing Caerphilly County Swim Squad, Wales and Great Britain.

Roberts first represented Wales aged 13 with his first major competition for Great Britain in the 1999 European Disabled swimming Championships in Germany, where he won all four of his races. His International Paralympic Committee (IPC) swimming category is S7 SB7 SM7.

Roberts took part in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and become an instant hit, winning three golds, three silvers and one bronze medal. He competed at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, winning four gold medals in the 50m, 100m, 400m and the 4x100m relay, and went on to win a silver in the 200m individual medley.

The Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games saw Elite Athletes with Disabilities (EAD) competing alongside able-bodied athletes at a major competition for the first time. Roberts, competing for Wales, was the only disabled swimmer from Great Britain to win a medal, taking bronze in the men’s multi-disability 100m freestyle.

His achievements earned Roberts an MBE for his services to disabled sport and he received his award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March 2005. He was also shortlisted in the 2004 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award which was won by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Roberts won four golds at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, taking the S7 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle events and he was part of the gold medal-winning Great Britain 100 m freestyle relay team that broke the world record by seven seconds.

He was selected to carry out the British flag at the closing ceremony and nominated for the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Awards for the second time in December 2008.

In the 2009 New Year Honours Roberts was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire and received his CBE from Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace on June 24, 2009.

He was selected and competed for Wales at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, coming 4th in the S7 100m freestyle, an event which saw him swim against competitors a class higher than his own.

Roberts, who went on to become an accomplished motivational speaker following his retirement, was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in June 2009.

He has appeared as a guest on the popular BBC TV sports quiz Question of Sport, taking a seat alongside regular team captain Matt Dawson and guest team-mate, England cricketer Marcus Trescothick.
David Roberts winning gold in a world-record time at the Athens Paralympics in 2004

Ellie Simmonds OBE is a Paralympian swimmer competing in S6 events who first won the hearts of British sports fans when she competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13.

In 2012, she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, this time swimming at a home games in London. She won another two golds, including setting a world record in the 400m freestyle, and a further gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, this time setting a world record for the 200m medley.

Born in Walsall on November 11, 1994, Simmonds, who has achondroplasia, became interested in swimming at the age of five. She swam for Boldmere Swimming Club in Sutton Coldfield, before she and her mother moved to Swansea when Simmonds was 11 to take advantage of the city’s world-class swimming pool. While there, she attended Olchfa School. She wwent on to study Psychology at Loughborough University.

In addition to her Paralympic acchievements, Simmonds has won 10 World Championship titles.

Simmonds won the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. At 14 years old, she became the youngest person ever to have received this honour, which was presented to her by Queen Elizabeth II on February 18, 2009.

In 2011, Simmonds won the award for Best British Sporting Performance for an Athlete with Disability at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards.

In celebration of her two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympics, two Royal Mail postboxes were painted gold in her honour, one in Aldridge and one in Swansea.

Simmonds was elevated to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to Paralympic sport.

Simmonds is very involved with charity work, with much of her focus being on sports, young people and water. She is an ambassador for The Scout Association and also a girlguiding leader in Manchester, where her nickname is Aqua Owl.

She is a patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, along with swimmer Matthew Whorwood. Simmonds says of the charity, “It’s a charity that supports people of short stature and helps them get into sport. One of the highlights of the year is the convention we have in the spring. There’s everything from power lifting to athletics.”

In January 2019, Simmonds was appointed to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee board.

Golden girl Ellie Simmonds smashes it at Rio 2016 Credit: Channel 4

David Smith has severe cerebral palsy, but by the age of 23 he had already won three Paralympic medals, including gold in the Boccia team event (Beijing 2008) and bronze (Boccia team) and silver individual at London 2012.

Boccia is a sport specially designed for athletes with a severe degree of physical disability. It was developed by the Swedish disability sports federation in the 1970s taking inspiration from games such as bocce, boules and petanque. It is a game of precision with leather balls thrown as close as possible to a white target ball (the jack).

Smith went on to win gold in the mixed individual event in Rio 2016.

He paid tribute to the “dedication and commitment” of his Swansea University-based physio team. “My entire body has to be as fit as is practically possible to play Boccia, never mind compete at the highest level,” he said. “My physio team at Physiotherapy Wales helped me peak to a level that gives me an extra 10 per cent power, stamina and mobility to win these fantastic medals.”

Nathan Stephens is a former Paralympian athlete from Wales competing mainly in category F57-58 throwing events. He was, until September 2012, the world record holder in the F57 javelin throw.

Stephens was born in Kenfig Hill in Bridgend, south Wales, in 1988. At the age of nine an accident on a railway line resulted in the loss of both of his legs. He started swimming for the Dragons Disabled Swimming Club before moving on to other sports. As a youth he joined the Cardiff Huskies ice sledge hockey team, which led to an interest in sport.

He began competing in athletic competitions in 2003 at the age of 15, winning the gold in discus, javelin and shot put at the Junior British Championship. He continued his success into the senior field and at the age of 16 he broke the British senior record in all three throwing events.

In 2006 he took part in his first Paralympics when he represented the Great Britain ice sledge hockey team at the 2006 Winter Paralympics, having played for the team at both the 2004 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships and the 2005 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships.

Stephens competed in three events in the 2008 Summer Paralympics, finishing 11th in discus, 8th in shot put and 4th in the javelin. In 2011, he won the gold at the Paralympic Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, recording a lifetime best of 39.11 metres in the javelin. He followed this up by recording a world record, at the Czech Athletics Open in Olomouc, in the men’s F57 javelin with a distance of 41.37 metres.

He qualified in the javelin for the 2012 Summer Paralympics and was selected by sponsors as an ambassador for the British team. Expectations were high for Stephens going into the Games as world champion, but his throwing style was judged illegal and he was red-flagged on his first two throws. His final throw was poor and he finished 10th in his event, failing to qualify for the final round. Stephens later complained that in the previous 2011 World Championships his action was deemed legal, and was deeply unhappy at the official’s decision. The London games also saw him lose his world record to Brazilian athlete Claudiney Batista dos Santos, who recorded a distance of 45.38 metres.

In 2012, he married Charlene Stephens, using prosthetics to dance with her and walk down the aisle.

Nathan Stephens talks about his journey Credit: What’s Your Story?

Nicola Tustain MBE is a retired Welsh Paralympic dressage rider. During her career, Tustain won multiple para-dressage medals at the World Championships and Paralympic Games. She was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

Tustain was born on December 27, 1977, in Corwen, Wales. She was born with hemiplegia that paralyzed her right side. She began riding competitively when she was 10 years-old and participated in a Riding for the Disabled Association championship when she was 12. Tustain joined the British equestrian team in 1993.

In 1996, she completed a certificate in healthcare at Yale College, Wrexham.

Tustain won her first para-dressage medals at the 1999 World Championships with three gold. While competing in the World Championships, Tustain won an additional three gold medals at the 2003 World Championships and a gold and a silver at the 2007 World Para-dressage Championships.

Tustain won a total of six Paralympic medals in dressage. At the 2000 Paralympics, Tustain won gold in the team and freestyle events, with a bronze in the individual event. At the 2004 Paralympics, she won a gold in the team event, while winning a bronze in the individual and freestyle events.

Other medals include two gold and one bronze at the 2005 European Championships and multiple British Dressage Championships. She retired in 2009.

In 2000, Tustain was awarded the British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour. In 2003, she was named the best dressage rider by Animal Health Trust. The following year, Tustain was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.

In 2010, Tustain was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Carmarthen-born Claire Williams is a Paralympian athlete, competing mainly in category T12 throwing events. She qualified as a member of the Great Britain team in three Paralympic Games, in 2004 at Athens, 2008 at Beijing and London 2012. At London she took the bronze medal in the discus.

Williams, who has a visual impairment, became interested in sport while a schoolgirl, taking up jujitsu. At the age of 12 she switched to athletics, becoming Welsh Schools champion for hammer and discus.

In 2004, at the age of 17, Williams was went with the GB team to the Paralympics in Athens and threw a personal best of 35.26m in the T12 discus, coming in fifth.

After Athens, Williams continued her athletics training and also matriculated to Loughborough University, completing her degree in psychology in 2007. With her studies over, Williams started competing further afield, and recorded a personal best of 36.78m at Loughborough, which won her a place at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. She again came fifth, throwing a distance of 35.01.

In 2009, she came first in the discus at both the Czech and Welsh Opens, and at Loughborough in May she threw a new personal best of 40.30, the first time she had thrown over 40 metres competitively. Williams was chosen to compete in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. A throw of 37.19m gave her another 5th placing in an international competition. Between May and July 2011, Williams threw over 40m in four different competitions, including a personal best of 43.15 at Loughborough.

Williams made the Great Britain team for the third time when she was selected for the 2012 Olympics in London. In the run-up to the Games she participated in the European Championships, taking the bronze medal in the discus. In London 2012 she took part in the F11-12 discus event and threw 39.63m which converted to 908pts, and was enough to give Williams her first Paralympic medal, a bronze.

David Winters was a remarkable participant and administrator in the disabled sports sector. He won many medals at major games and was an inspiration to his peers.