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Well worth the wait.

After a year delay, the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo lived up to expectation for Team GB fans. Taking home 124 medals including 41 Golds, the 2020 games has been nothing short of sensational for Team GB athletes. Moreover, a large percentage of those medals have their routes in Manchester!

We never shy away from our joy at seeing our city’s brilliant athletes on the podium, and we know our residents will be feeling just as proud and elated as we are. Overcoming great adversity, these athletes have proved nothing is impossible.

Dame sarah storey - 3 golds

Dame Sarah Storey, born in Eccles, added a further 3 gold medals to her honours by winning gold in Individual Track Pursuit, Road Time Trial and Road Race. Her total medal count now sits at 28, including 17 golds, making her the most successful and most decorated British Paralympian of all time as well as one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes of all time.

jody cundy - gold & silver 

Jody Cundy, a regular trainer in Manchester, would make history in Tokyo by becoming the first man in ParalympicsGB history to win a medal at seven Games. Cundy added a silver medal in the C4-5 1000m time trial and gold in the Mixed 750m team sprint C1-5 to his tally. The latter a race which saw Cundy set a blistering final lap to secure the team first place and a new world record!

neil and lora fachie - gold / gold & silver

Husband and wife Neil and Lora Fachie both added to the family gold haul in Tokyo with each securing Paralympic track cycling golds on the final day at the Izu Velodrome. Neil and Lora, both visually impaired, are regular trainers at the Manchester velodrome and headed to the Games’ looking to add to their golds and prior Olympics, however they had never won Gold at the same Olympics. That would soon change. Neil, broke his own world to win the men's 1,000m time trial B with a time of 58.038sec. The world records would keep coming as less than an hour later Lora took gold in the women's 3,000m individual pursuit B, setting a new World record of 3:19.483 along with her.

jaco van gass - 2 golds & silver

During his deployment in Afghanistan in 2009, Jaco Van Gass sustained life changing injuries, left fighting for his life. Fast forward 12 years and Van Gass is now a decorated Paralympian for Team GB.

A regular trainer at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre, Van Gass collected two golds and a bronze on the track (Men's pursuit C3, Mixed 750m team sprint C1-5, Men's 1000m time trial C1-3). Speaking after the C3 pursuit, Jaco’s appreciation for his personal journey and ultimate achievements could not be understated, noting ‘At this very moment in time, this is at the top. It's the best thing I've done’.

hannah russell - gold & bronze

Hannah Russel, postgrad student of University of Salford and regular trainer at the Manchester Aquatics  Centre, made a brilliant and inspirational comeback to elite sport by winning the gold medal in the S12 Women's 100m Backstroke in Tokyo. She also took home bronze medal in the S12 Women's 100m Freestyle. Speaking after the swim Hannah explained ‘It’s a dream come true really. I have had a few difficult years and I overcame them. I trained so hard, the hardest I have ever trained, and to top the podium is surreal’.

kadeena cox - 2 golds

Kadeena Cox was one of a number of athletes at Tokyo 2020 enrolled in multiple sports, with Cox competing both in Athletics and Track Cycling. Cox collected two impressive gold medals on the cycling track in the Mixed 750m team sprint C1-5 and the Women's 500m time trial C4-5. The latter in world record time of 34.812secs, beating the old record by 0.411secs. She stated after the race that she ‘executed a race that was near-perfect - I'm so happy’.

ben watson - 2 golds

Ben Watson, born in Stockport, earned a sensational double gold in road cycling at Tokyo 2020, completing a five year journey from desk job to Paralympic podium. Watson’s journey culminated in winning gold in both the men's C3 Time Trial and a second gold with a brilliant victory in the Men’s Road Race C1-3 over team-mate Finlay Graham.

Speaking after his first gold, Ben expressed ‘I turned up, had a go and this is where I am’, following it up by saying ‘If you are inspired by this, go and try sports. Go and try anything that interests you. What have you got to lose?’

tully kearney - gold & silver

Tully Kearney, a member of The Manchester Aquatics Centre, made her Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020 with high expectations following her three gold medals at the 2019 World Championships in London. Kearney would carry that momentum with her in Tokyo, smashing the world record as she took gold in the Women’s S4 100m Freestyle with a time of 1:14.39. Her achievement added a gold to the silver she won the day before in the 200m S5, topping off a memorable debut Games for Tully.

Speaking after the race, Kearney advised how ‘I was aiming for the world record in the 200 and unfortunately, through the injury, I just didn’t have the fitness to hold on and obviously missed it and lost the gold” but “today I was absolutely determined and no one was going to beat me”.

more medalists

There were a significant number of other medal winners (see below list) either from Greater Manchester or who regularly train at our wonderful state of the art facilities.
Crystal Lane-Wright – Silver X3 (Women’s C5 Pursuit, C4-5 Road Race, C5 Road Time Trial)

James Ball – Silver (Men's 1000m Time Trial B)

Steve Bate – Silver (Men's pursuit B)

Sophie Unwin – Silver/Bronze (Women's Road Race B, Women's Pursuit B)

George Peasgood – Silver/Bronze (Men's Individual Triathlon PTS5, Men's Road Time Trial C4)
Grace Harvey – Silver (Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB5)
Beth Munro – Silver (Women’s 58kg K44 Taekwondo)
Greg Warburton - Bronze (Men’s Wheelchair Basketball)
Amy Truesdale – Bronze (Women’s +58kg K44 Taekwondo)

"what have you got to lose?" - Ben Watson

The sheer quantity of talent within our great city further exemplifies and cements why Manchester is the place to be for anyone, no matter the ability or background, to become not only involved in sport, but successful too. The successes of Manchester’s Paralympians echoes that of the Olympians from the month prior. Their achievements should motivate, encourage and inspire residents of Manchester, whoever you are, to try something new. Why not give it a go? Who knows what the future could hold for you.
Are you interested in trying a new sport? Why not make use of Manchester’s fantastic array of facilities. Take a look at our Activity Finder to discover what’s available on your doorstep.


(Images courtesy of ParalympicsGB, British Cycling, British Swimming)