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Australia’s Para-athletics Team has been finalised with the addition of a further 24 stars of track and field, bringing the total size of Australia’s athletics representation at Tokyo 2020 to 36.

Among the newest members of the Team, announced by Paralympics Australia on Friday, are nine debutants, the highly experienced trio of Christie Dawes, Evan O’Hanlon and Angie Ballard, as well as London 2012 shot put gold medallist Todd Hodgetts and Rio 2016 100 metres gold medallist Scott Reardon.

“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.”

Tokyo will be Reardon’s third Paralympics, yet he hasn’t competed internationally since the 2017 World Championships, where he won his third 100 metres T42 title.

“It’s been a different process this time,” he said. “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.”

Reardon’s advice to the newer squad members was to “approach it with an open mind”.

“It’s going to be challenging, but it’s important to just trust what you’ve been doing,” he said.

“You’ve got to be adaptable, try and roll with the punches and do what Australia does best – be the underdog, then come out and run fast, jump long and throw far.”

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Australian Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said she was keen to see the Para-athletics Team make its mark at the Games.

“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 said: “Since the first Games, in 1960, our Para-athletes have won an incredible 468 medals, including 153 gold medals. 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.”

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Peter Bromley said: “The Australian Para-athletics Team has such a rich history of success at the Paralympic Games, but what’s more exciting is the mix of experience we have on this Team.

“We have real veterans – Christie Dawes is going to her seventh Paralympic Games, an achievement only one other Australian track and field representative has surpassed. We have Angie Ballard and Evan O’Hanlon at their sixth and fourth Games respectively, and we have nine more burgeoning debutants, all of whom are eager to wear the green and gold and make their contribution.

“This Team has a big task ahead of them, but we’re looking forward to seeing all 36 track and field representatives compete. It’s been a long wait, but I know they’re ready to do our nation proud and I can’t wait to see them in action.”


On behalf of his teammates, Reardon added: “To actually assemble a Team, both from an Athletics Australia point of view and Paralympics Australia, it’s been an amazing effort behind the scenes. To have athletes preparing as well as possible and sending them to Tokyo in the best shape, there’s obviously a lot of good people who’ve worked very hard to make it happen.”

The team also includes two able-bodied guides – Tim Logan and Vincent Donnadieu – who will guide vision-impaired runner Jaryd Clifford in the men’s marathon on the final day of competition (5 September).

Australian Paralympic Athletics Team – Tokyo 2020

Announced 7 September 2020: Corey Anderson, Eliza Ault-Connell, Rhiannon Clarke, Jaryd Clifford, Madison de Rozario, Sarah Edmiston, Deon Kenzie, Vanessa Low, Rheed McCracken, Michael Roeger;

Announced 17 April 2021: Chad Perris, James Turner;

Announced 23 July 2021: Luke Bailey, Angela Ballard, Daniel Bounty, Michal Burian, Samuel Carter, Christie Dawes, Ari Gesini, Samuel Harding, Guy Henly, Todd Hodgetts, Isis Holt, Nicholas Hum, Alissa Jordaan, Robyn Lambird, Rosemary Little, Sam McIntosh, Evan O’Hanlon, Jaydon Page, Ella Pardy, Scott Reardon, Jayden Sawyer, Samantha Schmidt, Maria Strong, Sarah Walsh, Tim Logan (guide runner), Vincent Donnadieu (guide runner).

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 23 July 2021