Paralympians with a (limb) difference - part three
Here is our final selection of Paralympians with a (limb) difference. It's been really hard to choose as it would be fantastic to feature them all, so if you feel we've omitted someone who deserves a mention, why not write about them yourself in the comments?
All that is left to be said is the best of luck to every single competitor whose hard work, dedication, guts and determination have propelled them beyond their physical challenges to achieve the sporting brilliance that so few achieve.
Jonnie Peacock Team: GB
Jonnie Peacock lost his right lower leg after contracting septicaemia when he was just five years old. In June 2012 Peacock set a new 100 metres world record in amputee sprinting at the United States Paralympic track and field trials recording a time of 10.85 seconds.
His will be one of the most anticipated events when he goes head to head with Oscar Pistorius in the 100 metres. He told the Guardian, "I'll smash it in London, that's the plan."
Josh Vandervies Team: Canada
Canadian, Josh Vandervies is a four-limb dysmelic who competes in Boccia. He has overcome many challenges presented by his physical difficulties with the love and support of his parents. When he discovered Boccia - the international Paralympic indoor version of the Italian past time - he was hooked on the intense skill, precision, strategy and competition of pushing himself to get better and better.
He competed in the 2004 Athens Paralympics and holds silver and bronze medals from the Americas Cup. In 2006, Josh was elected to the International Boccia Committee as Athlete Representative by the boccia players of the world. Josh acts as Athlete Council Representation on the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors.
Marije Smits, Team: Netherlands
Sport: Long jump
Dutch long jumper, Marije Smits became involved in Paralympic sport after losing a leg following an operation to remove a tumour.. She won last year's World Cup silver medal with a personal best of 3.73 meters.
She says, "Sport is a life lesson in itself. Every time I learn more about me on the track. Perseverance is the most important lesson."
Matthew Silcocks Team: Australia
Up and coming athletic talent Matthew Silcocks has set his sights on the pinnacle of his sport, aiming to be the most successful Paralympian of all time. Born with Poland syndrome, Matthew's left arm is underdeveloped and he competes in an amputee class.
Having only taken up the sport in 2009, he promptly won two gold medals at the AWD Underage Championships in the same year before backing up in 2010 with three gold medals at the same meet. But it was in 2011 that Matthew really stamped his class with a three gold medal haul at the Arafura Games in his first outing in national colours, while also sealing qualification for the London 2012 Games.
Oscar Pistorius - Team: South Africa
It would be impossible to have a series of posts about Paralympians with limb differences without Oscar Pistorius. Known as 'The Blade Runner' South African, Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia and underwent an amputation at a young age to allow the use of prosthetics.
As one of only two competitors in both this year's Olympics and Paralympics, Pistorius made the relay final. At the Paralympics, he is expected to again take home medals. He is the defending champion in the 100, 200 and 400 meters in his class. The South African team are also targeting the world record and Paralympic title in the 4x100m relay, of which Oscar will be part.
Martine Wiltshire - Team GB
Sport: Sitting Volleyball
There are many paralympians who have traumatically lost limbs - in accidents, fighting on behalf of their country, through illness. But one woman, who was simply travelling on a London tube train the very day after the city won the right to stage the 2012 Olympics, lost her legs above the knee as a result of the 7/7 terrorist attacks, when one of the bombers detonated his device just six feet away.
Martine Wiltshire will, seven years later, proudly take her place in the sitting volleyball squad for TeamGB. Speaking in the Telegraph, Martine said, "It's amazing to be selected. It's the biggest sporting event on earth, and it's coming to the city where I was born. I have dreamt of being part of it and now I am going there to do my country proud."
Martine played sitting volleyball for the first time in 2009 and has since made more than 40 international appearances
as an all-rounder
Tags: paralympics limb difference amputee dysmelia disability Article Article