Cycling and swimming offer hope of a flying start to the Paralympics for Australia’s team of 179 athletes, who will contest 18 of the 22 sports in Tokyo starting on Wednesday.
While the Izu Velodrome was a barren Olympic venue for Australia, it shapes as the likley venue of the Paralympic team’s first gold medal.
Paige Greco holds the world record for the 3000m individual pursuit in the C3 category and the C1-3 event will be the first medals decided on Wednesday afternoon at the Paralympics.
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Fellow Australian Emily Petricola is world record holder in the C4 3000m pursuit and her medal ride-offs will follow Greco’s.
“Our cycling team are just amazing. There’s some incredibly exciting athletes in that team, many world champions and world record holders,” said Australian team chef de mission Kate McLoughlin.
Day one is also expected to bring medals for the strong Australian swimming team, following the format of heats in the morning and evening finals.
Six-time gold medallist Ellie Cole will go up against Australia’s Rio gold medallist Lakeisha Patterson in the 400m freestyle, and fellow star Brenden Hall will also defend his Paralympic 400m freestyle title.
Team co-captains Danni di Toro and Ryley Batt will also be in action the day after carrying the flag at the opening ceremony.
McLoughlin was the only other Australian at the opening ceremony as a precaution against COVID-19.
Batt is a member of the Steelers, who will open their wheelchair rugby campaign on Wednesday against Denmark as they aim for a third-straight gold medal.
Five years ago in Rio, Australia came away with 81 medals – 31 gold, 30 silver and 29 bronze – for fifth spot on the medal table.
While Sydney’s haul of 149 medals, including 63 gold, won’t be surpassed, projections show Australia are a good chance of going past the 81 medals from five years ago.
Other sports where Australia can win medals are track and field, archery, boccia, canoe, road cycling, table tennis, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
How you watch the Paralympics
Olympic broadcaster Channel 7 has the rights to coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
They will be showing the Paralympic Games on Channel 7 and 7plus and, like the Olympics, you can stream different sport sessions live on the 7plus app.