The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has announced the largest section of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, naming the 44 athletes set to compete in the sport of athletics in Rio this September.

RIO 2016 APC Athletics Team Announcement at the AIS with athlete Angela Ballard Australian Paralympic Committee Australian Institute of Sport / Canberra ACT Tuesday 2nd August 2016 © Sport the library / Jeff Crow

Announcing the team today from the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, 2016 Australian Paralympic Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said can’t wait to see Australia’s Paralympic track and field athletes perform in front of a packed crowd in Rio’s Paralympic stadium.

Leading the way will be four-time Paralympian and 2016 Australian Paralympic Team co-captain Kurt Fearnley (NSW), along with a contingent of  Paralympic and world champions including four-time Paralympian and world champion Angie Ballard (NSW), training partner and world champion Madison de Rozario (WA/NSW), long jumper Carlee Beattie (QLD), defending Paralympic F20 shot put champion Todd Hodgetts (TAS), and 100m and 200m T35 world record holder Isis Holt (VIC), who will be making her Paralympic debut in Rio.

“Naming the athletes on our biggest team for Rio is an exciting milestone for the Australian Paralympic Committee, and we’re particularly excited to see what this outstanding team can achieve,” McLoughlin said.

“Australia has a rich history in Paralympic athletics. We’ve won more than 350 medals since the sport was introduced at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960.

“And if the Australian Paralympic Team is to finish in the top 5 on the medal tally in Rio, it will be this group who will largely determine whether we achieve that goal.”

Reigning world champion and current world record holder in the 400m T53 wheelchair racing event, Angie Ballard is looking forward to reaching new heights in her career at Rio.

Having won a swag of silver and bronze medals at four Games, Ballard will be racing for her first Paralympic gold.

“We’re so close now, in 36 days we’ll be getting ready to compete. I haven’t had this pressure ahead of previous Games, but now I am among the top athletes competing in my class. I’m excited to see how it goes when I compete at the biggest event I can go to, and hopefully I’ll do really well.

Together with her coach, nine-time Paralympic champion Louise Sauvage, Ballard has overhauled her training program which has since seen her break multiple world records and is confident that their new approach over the past four years will see her reach her peak when it matters most.

“Since London I have realized my best could be the best in the world. I’m still finding the right combination of training, competition and preparation, and I still think there is more around the corner in terms of getting faster and getting better at what I do.

“I now know that my best is the best in the world, so I’m focusing on the processes that get me there.  I will focus on executing my best possible time and make sure I am doing everything I can do pull off a good race. Being a Paralympian is about the details and the process.”

Hitting her stride last year at the World Championships where she won gold, Carlee Beattie is hoping to continue her winning streak and turn her London Paralympic silver into gold.

“This is something I have worked towards for the last few years and I’m thrilled to be named on my third team with a chance to achieve my goals,” she said.

“I think the quality of the competition in my class has really improved and it will be very competition event. I’m looking forward to seeing how I compete at the pinnacle event in my sport, and overall, I’m looking forward to a great competition.”

Athletics has been part of the Paralympic Games since the first in 1960 and events are open to athletes in all impairment groups eligible for Paralympic sport. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event and these events are continually being redefined to include as many athletes as possible.

The Rio Paralympic Games begin on 7 September through to 18 September, 2016.

2016 Australian Paralympic Athletics Team*:

Angie Ballard – Camperdown, NSW

Carlee Beattie – Salisbury, QLD

Madison de Rozario – Campsie, NSW

Todd Hodgetts – Launceston, TAS

Isis Holt – Brunswick, VIC

Deon Kenzie – Devonport, TAS

Brydee Moore – Bayswater, VIC

Claire Keefer – Withcott, QLD

Ella Pardy – Duncraig, WA

Rosemary Little – West Pennant Hills, NSW

Katherine Proudfood – Canberra, ACT

Christie Dawes – Merewether, NSW

Brianna Coop – Townsville, QLD

Torita Isaac – Marsden, QLD

Louise Ellery – McKellar, ACT

Madeleine Hogan – Ferntree Gully, VIC

Jodi Elkington-Jones – Belconnen, ACT

Jemima Moore – Highton, VIC

Emily Tapp – Katherine, NT

Erin Cleaver – Charlestown, NSW

Taylor Doyle – Oakville, NSW

Rae Anderson – Wamberal, NSW

Sarah Walsh – Engadine, NSW

Nicole Harris – Port Hacking, NSW

Guy Henly – Girraween, NSW

Brad Scott – Bunbury, WA

Scott Reardon – Temora, NSW

Michael Roeger – Watson, ACT

James Turner – Diamond Beach, NSW

Kurt Fearnley – Newcastle, NSW

Jake Lappin – Kilmore, VIC

Evan O’Hanlon – Canberra, ACT

Jayden Sawyer – Canberra, ACT

Aaron Chatman – Mena Creek, QLD

Rheed McCracken – Bundaberg, QLD

Russell Short – Glen Huntly, VIC

Brayden Davidson – Woodcroft, SA

Chad Perris – Port Headland, ACT

Nicholas Hum – Wantirna, VIC

Sam McIntosh – Drysdale, VIC

Gabriel Cole – Malvern, SA

Richard Colman – Geelong, VIC

Sam Carter – Toowoomba, QLD

Jaryd Clifford – Greensborough, VIC