Many of us have been patiently waiting for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games to finally begin.
Both the Paralympic and Olympic Games, like many other sporting events, were postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, despite all the difficulties that the organizers and athletes have faced, the Olympics kicked off on 23 July.
The Paralympics will begin in just under a month, commencing on 24 August and ending on 5 September 2021.
This is the 16th year of the Summer Paralympic Games and it's the second time it has been hosted in Tokyo, first being held there in 1964.
With the athletes itching to start competing, we're sure this year's Summer Paralympic Games will be jam-packed with amazing moments.
We've compiled a list of Paralympians who could bring home the gold - and break Guinness World Records titles in the process.
Michael Roeger - Men’s marathon (T46)
Australian athlete Michael Roeger has run a T46 men’s world record in all four marathons he has raced to date, clocking 2 hr 18 min 52 sec (pending ratification) at the Athletics Australia’s Tokyo Qualifying Marathon on 28 Apr 2021.
He also holds the T46 1,500 m and 5,000 m track records. Paralympic gold has eluded Roeger so far – can he change this in Tokyo?
Alice Tai - Swimming (S8)
British swimmer Tai will be looking to make waves at Tokyo. Following her reclassification from the S9 category in 2018, she has set a host of world records at S8 – including seven at a single meet in 2019.
Tai holds the 50 m record in three different strokes:
- Fastest swim 50 m backstroke - S8 (female) - 32.01 sec
- Fastest swim 50 m freestyle - S8 (female) - 28.97 sec
- Fastest swim 50 m butterfly - S8 (female) - 30.62 sec
She also holds two 100 m records and one 200 m record. How many medals can she bring home?
Iran's men's sitting volleyball team
Iran’s “Dream Team” have their sights firmly set on extending their record for most men’s sitting volleyball Paralympic golds, which currently stands at six.
Tokyo may also witness the return of Morteza Mehrzadselakjani (Iran), who at 2.46 m (8 ft 0.85 in) is the tallest male athlete to compete at a Paralympic Games ever.
Mehrzadselakjani – who has acromegaly, a condition stemming from excessive growth hormone – led Iran to glory at Rio 2016.
Ambra Sabatini - Women’s 100 m (T63)
Sabatini from Italy exploded on to the para athletics scene in Feb 2021, clocking a world record time of 14.59 sec for the T63 100 m on her international debut in Dubai, UAE.
Two years previous, the 19-year-old had lost her left leg in a traffic accident on her way to athletics practice.
Together with compatriots Monica Contrafatto and Martina Caironi, Sabatini could make up an all-Italian podium in Tokyo – can she better her world record for the fastest run 100 metres (T63, female) in the process?
Shingo Kunieda - Wheelchair tennis
Home hopes will be pinned on wheelchair tennis legend Shingo Kunieda (Japan), who has already achieved the most Paralympic wheelchair singles titles won (male) – two, in 2008 and 2012.
He has also won gold in the men’s doubles. Kunieda suffered a painful defeat in the singles quarter-finals at Rio 2016 but will be confident of success at Tokyo.
At the 2020 US Open, he claimed the outright record for most Grand Slam wheelchair tennis titles won, recording his 45th triumph.