Following my post yesterday on Australian athletes to keep an eye on, it’s only fair that I provide a similar guide for international athletes. There are obviously going to be some exceptional athletes who don’t make the cut.
Pal Szekeres: The Hungarian fencer will be aiming for his Seventh Olympic /Paralympic medal in London, after winning Gold in Barcelona and Atlanta and bronze in Sydney ,Athens and Beijing as well as a Bronze in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Szekeres was severely injured in a bus accident in 1991 and took up Wheelchair Fencing the next year, making his medal achievement in Barcelona all the more special as he was still adopting to life in a chair. The 47 year-old has worked with the European Paralympic Committee and the Hungarian Sports Association for the Disabled as well as being the Hungarian Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Children, Youth and Sport from 1999-2005.
Oscar Pistorius: Many will know of Pistorius after his efforts at the London Olympics. Don’t expect him to win with ease in London though as he competes in the T44 100m, 200m, 400m and 4 X 100 events. He has said that he has no expectations in the 100, an event which he has not run in 16 months, or run a personal best in in five years. Pistorius has also been honoured as the Laureus Disabled Sportsperson of the year for 2012.
Jonas Jacobsson: Jacobsson will represent Sweden in shooting at his ninth Paralympics looking to add to his tally of 27 medals, 16 of which have been Gold. Those 16 Gold Medals make him the most successful Male Paralympian of all-time. He also became the first physically disabled athlete to win the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal, the most prestigious sporting award in Sweden, in 2008.
Jessica Long: Some would know of Jessica Long because of her recent commercial success, where she has become one of the faces in the latest Coke advertising campaign in the United States. This recognition is well deserved for the swimmer who has taken the world by storm over the last eight years. After making her Paralympic debut at the age of 12 in Athens where she won three Gold Medals, Long confirmed her spot on the world stage two years later, when at the World Championships in South Africa she won all nine of her events and broke five World Records. Long has also won multiple ESPY’s (ESPN’s variety of the Oscars).
Antonio Tenorio: Tenorio goes into his fifth Paralympics with his worst achievement to date being a Gold Medal. the Judo athlete lost sight in his left eye after a slingshot accident, before losing all sight after a right eye infection seven years later at the age of 13. It has already been confirmed that he will compete in a Sixth Paralympics in his home country of Brazil in 2016 after accepting an invitation from the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.