A great start for our Paralympic stars

Leah Evans.
Leah Evans.

Team GB’s women’s wheelchair basketball team won three out of their four games in the preliminary round of the Paralympic sporting competition.

And two of the region’s athletes played a role in their victories in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

Sophie Carrigill.

Sophie Carrigill.

West Ardsley’s Sophie Carrigill co-captained the squad while Leah Evans from Castleford also made her Paralympic debut.

They played the first of their games on Thursday, following Wednesday’s opening ceremony. But were defeated by Canada 43 to 36.

The women went on to win their remaining three games, beating Argentina 79 to 20, reigning Paralympic champions Germany 50 to 45 and home nation Brazil 63 to 32.

Writing on Twitter after Saturday’s Germany victory, 22-year-old Sophie said: “What a win against Germany today. So proud of this team! #forwardmomentum.”

British comedian Johnny Vegas has been watching on and supporting the women.

He was spotted cheering in the crowd, with a Union Jack flag painted on his stomach.

Nineteen-year-old Leah said on Twitter: “@JohnnyVegasReal Great seeing you enjoying yourself at our game today out in Rio. #Wheelchairbasketball #Rio2016Paralympics.”

Jamie Stead, 22, of Normanton, will also be representing the district as part of the wheelchair rugby team.

Members of the squad are due to play their first game today against London 2012 Paralympic champions Australia.

Both Leeds and Wakefield councils wished good luck to Paralympics GB throughout the games.

Coun Peter Box, Wakefield Council leader, said: “We are extremely proud that we have three local athletes in Rio.

“It takes years of hard work and dedication to reach the top level in sport and be eligible for selection to represent your country.”

And Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “As always all of our local athletes can be guaranteed of tremendous support from the Leeds and Yorkshire public.

“A special Yorkshire homecoming event is of course being held in Leeds on September 28 which will be a fantastic way in which to recognise and congratulate all of our Paralympic and Olympic athletes on their performances in Rio.”