Hipwell heads to Tokyo Paralympics after selection earned down on the farm

Olympic Rings outside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan

Papworth's Will Hipwell has been selected to represent Team GB at the Tokyo Paralympics. - Credit: ADAM DAVY/PA

Will Hipwell can thank a novel way of training after selection to represent Team GB at the 2020 Paralympics.

The Papworth native would usually have trained at a leisure centre but with the pandemic forcing it to shut temporarily, he trained on the family farm using the grain barn as a court.

Hipwell, who has notched up gold medals on the European circuit, forms part of a nine-strong squad heading to Tokyo and will team up with Claire Taggart and reigning Paralympic and world champion David Smith for the BC1/2 team event.

This will be his first Paralympics, the same being true for Beth Moulam and Louis Sanders, but for Smith it is another chance to add to his haul of four medals from three Games.

He said: "It’s crazy to think that this will be my fourth Games and I’m still only 32. That’s exciting because there’s still a lot more to come.”

He and Taggart are joined by returning Paralympians Evie Edwards, Stephen McGuire and brothers Jamie and Scott McCowan

Helen Nicholls, Boccia UK’s performance director, said: “The build up to this Paralympic Games has thrown our athletes and the support team so many challenges but they have responded with resilience and determination.

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"In this squad, we have experienced, established athletes as well as three players who will be making their first-ever Paralympic appearance.

"Our preparations are on track and we’ll be ready to take on the world’s best boccia players.”

Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission for Team GB, said: "All nine athletes have shown terrific strength and resolve since the start of the COVID pandemic last year and I look forward to seeing just what they can achieve on the boccia court at Tokyo 2020.

"The squad boasts a superb mix of experienced Paralympians and Games debutants who I believe will make the nation proud with their performances in Japan."