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Spirit in Motion
Spirit in Motion

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The Portuguese Minister of Education and Sport Tiago Brandão Rodrigues met with International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons in Lisbon on Thursday (12 April).

Accompanied by the President of the Portugal Paralympic Committee José Manuel Lourenço, the trio discussed the development of Para sport in Portugal and the government’s commitment to growing participation and hosting major Para sport events.

Andrew Parsons said: “The meeting with the Minister of Education and Sport Mr. Rodrigues painted an excellent picture of how committed and passionate he and the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) are to growing the Paralympic Movement in Portugal.

“The government has increased its investment in Para sport by 84 per cent and is fully focussed on sending its strongest ever team of Para athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. It was an excellent meeting.

“During my days in Portugal it was extremely beneficial to be given a full update on the work of the National Paralympic Committee and attend its Congress in Braga to meet and hear from a number of the Portuguese speaking NPCs. As IPC President I feel it is vitally important to reach out to members and find out what progress they are making, discuss the challenges they are facing and ways in which the IPC can support them further.”
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Check out today's highlights from the World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup in Switzerland. It could not have been closer for Morii and Pedersen!!
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It was an incredible first day of action in the pool at the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City!
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2016 proved to be quite a year in the men’s T42 class. First there was the long jump: Denmark’s Daniel Wagner began the year as the world record holder, but by the time the season came to an end the record had fallen not once, or even twice – but a remarkable five times, changing hands on three occasions. Germany’s Heinrich Popow won Paralympic gold ahead of reigning world champion Atsushi Yamamoto of Japan; Wagner clinched bronze.

As for the 100m – second and third place could not be separated at Rio 2016 as Wagner shared the silver medal position with Briton Richard Whitehead. Amazingly, it was a situation the T42 class had witnessed before – at the 2013 World Championships Popow and Australian Scott Reardon shared the top of the podium.
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This week’s Holiday Hotspot comes from US sprinter Jarryd Wallace, who lines up in the 100m and 200m T44 at the World Para Athletics Championships which start in under two weeks’ time.

Wallace, 27, won 200m T44 gold at Lyon 2013 but was unable to compete at the Doha 2015 World Championships due to injury. He missed out on the medals at Rio 2016 but is back with a vengeance in 2017 after getting married to his partner Lea in October last year.
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There’s plenty at stake for Chinese man-of-the-moment Jianwen Hu at July’s World Para Athletics Championships in London, Great Britain – he takes on four events in the capital. Here’s what you need to know about the man from Guangzhou.

Five Facts About...Jianwen Hu

1. He took up athletics in 2013.

2. Hu won 100m, 200m, and long jump T38 gold at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar – the same year he made his international debut.

3. The 29-year-old caused a major upset to defending champion and world record holder Evan O'Hanlon in the 100m T38 Paralympic final in Rio, winning gold and taking the Australian’s world record.

4. Hu also won the long jump in Rio, plus silver in the 400m T38.

5. His favourite holiday destination is, rather appropriately, London!
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The Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) Competition Committee have released their new world ranking system for the 2017-2020 quadrennial.

The new system has been developed using the knowledge of the Competition Committee and the mathematical expertise of UK Sport’s Intelligence Team. The proposed method has been put through extensive simulations using data from past events and will go through further testing prior to its introduction ahead of the 2018 season.

Dom Tremblay, BISFed Operations Manager and Chair of the Competition Committee that developed the new system, said: “I’d like to thank the committee for their hard work, and the support we have received from UK Sport has been invaluable in developing this new system. We look forward implementing it in 2018 and hope that athletes will welcome receiving points for performance in games rather than at events as a whole.”
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New Zealand and the USA announced strong teams that will compete at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships, set to take place in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, from 31 August-3 September.

The three-member New Zealand team includes a mix of experience and youth, with Rio 2016 Paralympians Stephen Hills and Fraser Sharp being joined by new rising star Sarah Ellington.

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) High Performance Director Malcolm Humm said: “I am thrilled to see Rio 2016 Paralympians Stephen [Hills] and Fraser [Sharp] selected to compete at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships.

“This event will provide them with the opportunity to bench mark themselves against the best in the world after some time out following the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

“It is [also] great to welcome Sarah (Ellington) to the team, a Para cyclist who is very new to the sport. The race experience Sarah gains from this event will be invaluable as she starts her journey towards Tokyo 2020.”

Whilst the team of three set their sights on South Africa, 15 further Para cyclists based throughout New Zealand were selected as part of two new squads named ‘High Performance’ and ‘Paralympic Potential.’

PNZ High Performance Para Sport Athlete Development Manager Melissa Wilson said: “As a result of an extensive review of the Para Cycling Programme following Rio 2016 we are really excited about implementing a revised squad structure.

“We believe the Para cyclists we have named have the potential to deliver medals as we look towards Tokyo 2020 and beyond. The squads allow Para athletes and their coaches to understand where they are within the Para cycling development pathway and what competitions they should be targeting.”

USA team

A total of 22 cyclists, including one tandem pilot, will represent the USA at the Para Cycling Road Worlds. The team, which is comprised of 12 males and 10 females, includes 16 Paralympians and three returning road world champions.

“We’re incredibly thrilled about the 22 deserving athletes on the Road World Championships team,” said US Paralympics Cycling High Performance Director Ian Lawless. “The combination of veteran athletes and newcomers creates a very promising team that will represent the United States well at this year’s event.”

Two-time Paralympic medalists Shawn Morelli and Jamie Whitmore will return to defend their world titles in the road race and time trial, whilst fellow two-time Paralympic medalist Jill Walsh will look to repeat as the world champion in the road race. Five other female Paralympians decorate the team, including Samantha Bosco, Alicia Dana, Allison Jones, Shawn Cheshire and Jennifer Schuble.

Six-time Paralympic medallist Will Groulx and two-time Paralympians Joe Berenyi and Matthew Updike will also compete in Pietermaritzburg. Additional Paralympians on the team include Ryan Boyle, Tom Davis, Billy Lister, Steven Peace and Freddie de los Santos.

At the same time, David Berling and Monica Sereda will make the Worlds team for the first time.
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Great Britain’s Paralympic and world champion Hannah Cockroft may be focused on the business of adding to her prolific medal tally at July’s World Para Athletics Championships, where she will be out to defend her 100m, 400m and 800m T34 titles - but where does she like to relax?

Hannah Cockroft - My Holiday Hotspot:

“I don’t go on many holidays but I think my favourite destination was Barcelona in Spain. There is a lot to see and do – I’m not the sort of person who sits on the beach or by a pool – I’m not very good at relaxing! We went to the Olympic stadium and there are loads of cultural sites too. It was really easy to get around - that was a big thing for me – getting there and being able to see what everyone else could see. I really liked it and would definitely go back there.

My two essential items:

My sunglasses and my camera!
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The 2016-17 season will always be a standout one for Great Britain's Owen Pick, after he won his first major medal at the 2017 World Championships. But the snowboarder says that's not the only highlight of a memorable season.

Para snowboard featured in the popular Dew Tour

“The Dew Tour [an extreme sports circuit] this year was really cool. It was the first time we’ve ever had adaptive snowboarding featured at the Dew Tour. It was incredible, and really cool for our sport to be pushing in that direction, at high level events where there are TV crews around and big name pro riders. It was just amazing to be part of.”

Seeing a teammate improve

“[British adaptive snowboarder] Darren Swift and I flew from Canada to the UK [United Kingdom], where we had two days at home before going straight to Spain [for the World Cup]. We were really jet-lagged, and getting down the course in Spain, Swifty’s time on the first day was quite slow. So I said to him, ‘You can push it more than this.’ I spent the next day following behind him on the course in the training runs, just shouting ‘Now go straight, now go straight! Now turn, now turn!’ because he was speed-checking too much. When he did his first timed run, he knocked 14 seconds off his first run, and that’s what we’re talking about!”

Banked slalom SB-LL2 silver at Big White 2017

“The medal at the World Championships was incredible. Getting that first podium, getting all the recognition from the other riders, and from all the other coaches from all the other countries was really nice. It was a really nice atmosphere and a really nice feeling to get on the podium. All the other riders on the way past gave me a big hug or a high-five, and that was really cool.”
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