The Opening Ceremony will be on Tuesday August 24 at 9pm (AEST) and the Closing Ceremony will take place on Sunday September 5 at 9pm (AEST). Australia is set to have their largest ever overseas Paralympics team at the Tokyo Games, with 179 athletes competing across 18 sports, led by their first female Chef de Mission appointed by Paralympics Australia, Kate McLoughlin. Paralympic 2021 Ultimate Guide: schedule how to watch?
The team has 101 males and 78 females with the youngest member just 15 and the oldest 60. Eighty-four athletes are making their Paralympic Games debut. There are also three Indigenous Australian athletes in the team in Para-cyclist Amanda Reid, discus thrower Samantha Schmidt and swimmer Ruby Storm.
Wheelchair basketball star Tristan Knowles is taking part in his fifth Paralympic Games, and is eyeing top spot on the podium in Tokyo to add to his gold from 2008, and silver in 2004 and 2012.
Milly Tapper is a rare Olympics and Paralympics crossover athlete, having appeared in each Games twice, and making history as the first Australian to do so in Rio in 2016. Tapper is part of the 11-strong Aussie Para-table tennis team, which also includes bear attack survivor, new Australian citizen and gold medal contender Ma Lin, who had his arm eaten by a brown bear at a zoo when he was just five years old.
Tapper, 31, is aiming to improve on her fourth-place finishes is a standout at the last two Paralympics, and having been in Tokyo since July 17, she is raring to go.
“I’m going to take it one match at a time. I think regardless of my results I’m just excited I get to be here,” she she told Paralympics Australia.
My big goal has always been to perform at the Paralympics. Paralympic 2021 Ultimate Guide: Dates, sports, schedule how to watch?
“I was pretty fortunate to qualify for the Olympics. But realistically I was able to use that to get a feeling for the balls and see how I was playing.
“Now I’m really excited that the rest of my Paralympic Team is here in Japan with me and I’m excited to get out there and play.”
“If anything the joy and privilege of being able to pull on a green and gold singlet gets greater and greater,” Knowles told Paralympics Australia.
“To be here for a fifth time and to see the condition of all the guys, I feel really upbeat and we’ve got really high expectations of ourselves, particularly after the way we finished in Rio. We’re excited to get started.
“We’re the fastest and fittest our group of 12 has ever been. It says to me that the guys are hungry because you only get into that sort of condition by doing a whole lot of work when no one’s watching. We’re pumped.”
Tiffany Thomas Kane – Para-swimming
In Tokyo Australian gold medallist Tiffany Thomas Kane is out to defend her 100 metres breaststroke SB6 title.
“It feels good to be here in the village,” Thomas Kane told Paralympics Australia. “It’s been a long five years, a really long wait. It’s exciting seeing all our Team here and also seeing the athletes from other countries.
“It brings back a lot of memories from Rio – the village life, the athletes from all over the world, just working out where everything is, how to get around here. It’s just a really good time for all of us.