Paralympian trio ready for Rio

Leah Evans has won a won gold medal in the under-25 Wheelchair Basketball Championships. She has also been selected for senior GB team for the European Championships in August.
Leah Evans has won a won gold medal in the under-25 Wheelchair Basketball Championships. She has also been selected for senior GB team for the European Championships in August.
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The Paralympic Games are less than a week away. And the district’s athletes have arrived in Rio.

Castleford’s Leah Evans, Jamie Stead of Normanton and Sophie Carrigill from Wakefield will be among the 264 members of Team GB competing in the games, which begin on Wednesday.

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Jamie Stead, ParalympicsGB wheelchair rugby.

Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Jamie Stead, ParalympicsGB wheelchair rugby.

Nineteen-year-old Leah, from Townville, and 22-year-old Sophie will represent the nation in the women’s wheelchair basketball team.

Members of the community backed former Airedale Academy pupil Leah’s bid to reach the ultimate sporting stage, after the Express launched the ‘Get Leah to Rio’ campaign when the teenager found out she had been selected for the provisional squad last year.

It was announced she had made the final squad in May.

Her mum Dawn Evans said: “She made the team through hard work and determination and we are so proud. ”

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Sophie Carrigill, ParalympicsGB wheelchair basketball.

Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Sophie Carrigill, ParalympicsGB wheelchair basketball.

Leah said on Twitter last Friday: “On route to the airport. All seems so real now #RoadToRio #excited.”

Teammate Sophie also made the journey to Brazil.

She said: “In terms of expectations, I think we are in the best place possible but that all depends on how we play and compete on the day.

“I think we are in the right mind frame now and working towards reaching a semi-final and giving ourselves a chance of a medal.”

Jamie will make his Paralympic debut at Rio as part of the men’s wheelchair rugby team. He said: “I always wanted to become a Paralympian so it’s a dream come true really.

“Since I was little I’ve tried loads of disability sports to try and get here, London 2012 really inspired me to go on and push for it.”

The 22-year-old Tweeted on Monday: “Packing my clothes for @Rio2016 @ParalympicsGB. My mum has got @LittleMix @GaryBarlow @shayneTward blasting out while she does my folding.”

Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “We want to wish our Paralympic athletes – Leah Evans, Sophie Carrigill and Jamie Stead all the best in Rio when the Games start.”

To support Paralympics GB and find out more, visit www.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge