Ten inspiring athletes due to compete for gold medals

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The Olympics may well be over but sport fever is set to continue with the start of the Paralympics in less than two weeks.

And Kent has every reason to be excited with ten inspirational gold medal hopefuls gearing up to take to the sporting stage and show the world what they’re made of.

The county is also getting ready to host the Paralympic road race and time trial cycling event between September 5-8 which starts and finishes at Brands Hatch in Longfield and runs though the Sevenoaks district.

Tickets are almost sold out but crowds are expected to take to the street route and cheer on the 225 athletes due to take part over the four days.

Locog director of Paralympic integration Chris Holmes said it was a delight to bring the Games to Kent.

“I recommend that everyone take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to see sport like never before in the garden of England,” he said.

The Paralympics, which run from August 29-September 9, will keep the spirits of the nation lifted following the awe-inspiring Olympics.

Sports minister and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent Hugh Robertson said the Paralympic Games had already gathered momentum.

“The tickets are selling like hot cakes and I think everyone will enjoy it as party mark two,” he said.

Kent’s 10 athletes are getting ready to take the Paralympics by storm and come home with coveted gold medals.

Table tennis stars Will Bayley, 24, from Tunbridge Wells, and Ross Wilson, 17, from Sheppey will be competing, as well as 25-year-old Nathan Milgate, from Canterbury, who will be competing in the shooting.

Chatham’s Richard Hennahane, 31, will be competing in the archery, Dartford-based Ben Quilter, 30, and Joe Ingram, 30, will be battling it out in the judo, and Steve Brown, 31, who lives in Sittingbourne, is captaining the wheelchair rugby team.

Claire Harvey, 38, from Ashford, Richard Dobell, 45, from Beckenham, and Netra Rana, 28, from Folkestone, will be competing in the sitting volleyball.

Steve Brown, who is leading Team GB’s wheelchair rugby team, said he was honoured to have been picked.

“To compete alongside such a close-knit group of individuals who trust each other completely is humbling,” he said.

County Hall chiefs said the Games would help inspire young people to reach their personal achievements.

Kent County Council helps youngsters thrive in competitive sport through the Kent School Games (KSG) initiative.

Involving 30,000 young athletes aged four to 16 each year, it introduces the thrill of competitive sport and encourages young people to take part.

So successful is the KSG the scheme is set to be rolled out nationwide.

Sports minister Mr Robertson said: “The Games provided great experiences and memories for the young people for many years to come.

“I am committed to seeing a real legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the growth of the School Games will provide just that.

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