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Blackwell Named In Paralympics GB Squad For Rio 2016 Games

Bristol’s James Blackwell has been named in the 14-man Paralympics GB seven-a-side football squad for this year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Blackwell, who grew up in Hawkesbury Upton and plays in the Gloucestershire County League for Kingswood, was born with cerebral palsy, a lesion on the brain that affects the left hand side of his body.

The 30-year-old made his international debut against the USA in January 2016 and also featured as England finished fifth at the CPISRA European Championships in Portugal.

Jack Rutter, captain of the team, said: “There is no greater honour than to represent your country on the international stage and it’s a proud moment for me today to be announced as captain of this team of outstanding players.

“We’ve come together to create a really competitive force and we believe we’re up there with the best teams in the world. We’re going out to Rio to make everyone back at home proud, and I hope the nation will Supercharge the team to some truly memorable performances.”

Penny Briscoe MBE, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said: “This is a fantastic and talented group of players and I’d like to pay credit to all of the home nations for the excellent work they have undertaken to identify new talent and to bring them through to compete on the international stage. 

“I’d also like to congratulate the players for all of the hard work which has led to their selection to the team. They have the opportunity to shine when the Games get under way in 86 days’ time.”

Jeff Davis, Team Leader, said: “I am really proud to lead these players as we prepare to compete at the Rio Paralympics, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase this sport and I believe their hard work will pay dividends at the Games.

"The top teams are incredibly competitive and there will be no easy matches, but we feel ready to take on the challenge.”

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