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11 Aussie Athletes To Keep An Eye On At The Rio Paralympics

Bloody legends, all of them.

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The Paralympics begins tomorrow so Aussie wheelchair racing legend Kurt Fearnley - who is competing in his fifth games - has put together a list of Australian athletes we should be watching in Rio.

Buda Mendes / Getty Images

1. Brad Ness

It's official... @BradNess15 to carry the 🇦🇺 for the #Rio2016 #Paralympics #OpeningCeremony! 📷 via @AUSParalympics

"There are few people I would follow blindly, this guy is one of them. A leader of the Aussie Rollers and the Paralympic movement," Fearnley says of our Rio flag bearer.

Our wheelchair basketball captain is looking to repeat his Beijing performance, where Australia won gold.

2. Liesl Tesch

Security has tightened up in Rio! @AUSParalympics @AusSailingTeam @sportmattersAU

Tesch is a schoolteacher from NSW who is competing in her seventh (!) Paralympics. The 47-year-old sailor won gold in the mixed two-person sailing SKUD18 in London and is back to defend her medal.

Before she was a sailor, Tesch was one of Australia's fiercest wheelchair basketball stars. She helped Australia to silver in Sydney and Athens, and bronze in Beijing.

3. Dylan Alcott

Not everyday you get to interview the Governor General for @Channel7 #Rio2016 #7paralympics #paralympics

The 25-year-old won wheelchair basketball gold in his first games in Beijing and backed up with a silver in London. He's now switched to wheelchair tennis, where he has become a dominant force.

4. Ellie Cole

Cole won four gold and two bronze medals in London, and she's back to win more. "Ellie is a bold leader of the swimming team and I can't wait to see how she makes her mark in Rio," Fearnley says.
Ian Macnicol / Getty Images

Cole won four gold and two bronze medals in London, and she's back to win more.

"Ellie is a bold leader of the swimming team and I can't wait to see how she makes her mark in Rio," Fearnley says.

5. Curt McGrath

Instagram: @curtmcgrath

McGrath lost both legs in an IED explosion while serving in Iraq. This is his first Paralympics (competing in the canoe), and Fearnley reckons he's a "red hot favourite" to make it on to the podium.

6. Carol Cooke

So proud to be a part of this amazing team. #webelieve #roadtorio

Originally from Canada, the adopted Aussie and five-time world cycling champion is defending her 2012 London gold.

7. Chad Perris

The comp track is mighty fine! #WhiteTiger

The "white tiger" is competing in his first Paralympics but is coming in hot after winning silver and bronze at the world championships in Doha.

8. Rheed McCracken

Phelps, what a legend!!!! 22 Golds, can't wait to have a crack at One!!!!! #RoadToRio

"Rheed is the closest thing I have to a little brother," Fearnley says. "He shares the same coach, Andrew Dawes, and I’ve seen Rheed grow from a shy young kid to the young man I'm proud to call a good mate."

"He's also a pretty handy babysitter as he's been one for my two-year-old Harry for the last 12 months. [He's] a silver and bronze medallist from London 2012. I look forward to seeing the young bloke go for gold."

9. Evan O'Hanlon

Australia's fastest Paralympian ever, O'Hanlon is "a giant of our sport," according to Fearnley.

The five-time gold medallist has never left the Paralympic track without a gold medal hanging around his neck. He runs the 100 metres in 10.79 seconds.

10. Angie Ballard

The world champion and world record holder in the 400m wheelchair is competing in her fifth games.

11. And of course, Kurt Fearnley

For all those interested in tuning in for my race times this week. Tune into @7TWOAU, times below! #7paralympics

Kurt didn't include himself on the list, but we're putting him on anyway.

Not content with crawling the Kokoda track and completing the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, Fearnley's back for his sixth games and is aiming to win his fourth Paralympic gold.

You can keep up with the entire Paralympics team by following @AUSParalympics and our chef de mission, @KateMcLoughlin4.

Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Rob Stott at

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