ParalympicsGB rewrote the history books at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after a phenomenal medal haul which saw the team reach the podium in more sports than any other nation at a single Games.
The British team won medals across 18 sports and finished second behind China on the medal table with 124 medals overall, including 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze.
Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe OBE said: “I am so proud of what all of our 226 athletes here in Tokyo have achieved over the last 12 days of competition.
“The team came into these Games after an extremely difficult 18 months as the COVID pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Never before has ParalympicsGB faced such a complex and demanding Games environment – the phenomenal determination and resilience of athletes and staff throughout this period has been remarkable and we couldn’t have achieved all that we did without the invaluable support of The National Lottery players.
“To finish second on the medal table, with more medals overall than the total number we won at our home Games in London nine years ago, is a fantastic achievement.
“ParalympicsGB’s traditionally strong sports, such as cycling, rowing and equestrian, once again proved to be the best in the world but we also had best performances this century from the likes of our wheelchair fencing, judo and table tennis squads.”
Every member of ParalympicsGB’s 20-strong cycling squad won medals in Tokyo, spearheaded by Dame Sarah Storey who became Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time, winning three events to reach 17 golds in a stunning career.
In the dressage arena, Sir Lee Pearson moved to third on the all-time list of ParalympicsGB medallists with three golds in Tokyo – and his 14th across five Games.
Joining the 47-year-old on the podium was Georgia Wilson, one of 48 Games debutants in the ParalympicsGB team who return home with silverware.
Swimmer Reece Dunn won no fewer than five medals – three golds, a silver and a bronze – making him the most decorated athlete in the ParalympicsGB squad for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
There were medals too for British athletes in taekwondo and badminton, new additions to the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020 as Beth Munro, Amy Truesdale, Dan Bethell and Krysten Coombs all reached the podium.
ParalympicGB’s wheelchair rugby team struck gold for the first time at their sixth Games, beating three-time champions the USA 54-49 in a thrilling final.
Kylie Grimes, the sole female in the British squad, also made history as she became the first woman to win wheelchair rugby gold.
Experience also paid off for table tennis player Sue Bailey who, after competing at six Paralympic Games, secured her first Paralympic medal alongside teammate Megan Shackleton.
Para canoe’s Jeanette Chippington was ParalympicGB’s oldest medallist with bronze out on the water in the women’s VL2 event.
The 51-year-old first pulled on the British vest at Seoul 1988 in a remarkable Paralympic career that has spanned five decades.
Meanwhile 17-year-old swimmer Ellie Challis, ParalympicGB’s youngest athlete in Tokyo, exemplified the star quality of the next generation of young athletes with silver in the women’s 50m backstroke (S3).
Summing up the performance of the team over the last 12 days, Briscoe said: “The performance of the athletes will live long in the memory and their impact will transcend these Games – inspiring the next generation, giving hope and happiness, and positively influencing change through what they have delivered on and off the field of play.
“These have been a memorable Games in so many ways and the entire ParalympicsGB team has been overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of the Japanese people.
“In the Village and at every venue, the Tokyo 2020 volunteers have been incredibly welcoming to our athletes and support staff and as a team we would like to say thank you for all they and the Tokyo 2020 organisers have done.
“We are humbled by the experience and proud of our contribution towards a safe, secure and successful Paralympic Games. Arigato Japan.”
ParalympicsGB will now be looking towards Paris 2024, only three years away.