On Sunday (10 January), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced its latest batch of Ones to Watch athletes for Rio 2016, this time focusing on players in football 7-a-side and wheelchair basketball.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which run from 7-18 September, will see up to 4,350 athletes from around 170 countries compete in 528 medal events across 22 different sports.
In an effort to make it easier for the public and media to understand which athletes to look out for at Rio 2016, the IPC between 4-15 January is announcing Ones to Watch in all 22 sports.
The Ones to Watch athletes for football 7 and wheelchair basketball are as follows:
Kostyantyn Symashko (Ukraine)
Symashko is one of the world’s best goalkeepers and is preparing for his third Paralympic Games in Rio. At Beijing 2008 he won gold but had to settle for silver at London 2012. He helped Ukraine to silver again at the 2015 World Championships.
Eduard Ramonov (Russia)
Ramonov was voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament at the 2015 World Championships as Russia retained their world title. The striker bagged seven goals in six games. Rio 2016 will be his second Paralympics and he will be hoping to retain the gold he won at London 2012.
Jan Francisco Brita da Costa (Brazil)
The Brazilian is arguably the best player in the world and will be hoping to make a big impact at Rio 2016. He helped Brazil to a second place finish at the 2013 Intercontinental Cup and scored three goals as his country won bronze at the 2015 World Championships. He led Brazil to gold at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Stefan Lokhoff (Netherlands)
His biggest achievement in over 160 international appearances is arguably a silver medal at the 2014 European Championships. Now in his 30s, he remains irreplaceable for the Dutch football 7-a-side team and he will be hoping to make the podium at his fifth Paralympic Games.
Marina Mohnen (GER)
Mohnen is one of Germany’s most experienced players who has won multiple Paralympic, world and European medals. She is a 4.5 player who joined the national team in 2005. In 2015 she averaged 18.6 points per game as the Germany reclaimed the European crown they lost to the Netherlands two years earlier.
Mariska Beijer (NED)
Beijer was the top scorer at the 2015 European Championships, averaging 23.6 points per game and was named in the end of tournament All Star team. She was part of the Dutch team that won the 2013 European title and two bronze at London 2012 and the 2014 World Championships.
Abdi Jama (GBR)
Rio 2016 will be Jama’s third Paralympic Games and since taking over the captaincy the British team has won two European titles. The 1.0 guard is a very vocal player who leads by example on court and works extremely hard to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Janet McLachlan (CAN)
McLachlan averaged 21.5 points per games as Canada lifted the 2014 world title on home soil. The 4.5 class forward made her Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008 and is gearing up for her third Paralympics in Rio. At London 2012 she averaged 26 points per game.
Steve Serio (USA)
The 3.5-class forward has a reputation as a match winner and is one of the world’s purest shooters from distance. He is one of the top scorers in wheelchair basketball, shooting at a high percentage from almost anywhere on the floor. He won bronze at London 2012 and silver at the 2014 World Championships.
Shaun Norris (AUS)
Norris is gearing up for this fourth Paralympics having medalled at every Games so far since making his debut at Athens 2004 with a silver medal. In Beijing he won gold, and after winning the world title in 2014 will be confident of winning again at Rio 2016. An impressive scorer in big games.
Ozgur Gurbulak (TUR)
With Gurbulak in the side, Turkey have been formidable opponents who have won silver at the 20109, 2013 and 2015 European Championships. He finished last year’s tournament with the most assists of any player.
On Monday (11 January), the IPC will announce the Ones to Watch athletes for judo and swimming.