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London 2012 Paralympics: What to watch today, Thursday 30 August

Catch all the key action from the first day of the Paralympics, including Team GB in wheelchair basketball and cyclist Sarah Storey lining up in the Velodrome logo
Published: Thursday, 30th August 2012 at 8:00 am

At last the action starts today. For those still pining away after losing their daily diet of Olympic drama, the next 12 days should more than fill the gap. But where do you start? will take you by the hand and offer daily guides to what to watch when. On your marks, get set, go (again)!


Wheelchair Basketball

From 1pm, C4

GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team open the action with their first preliminary match against the Netherlands. Later the 2008 bronze medal-winning GB men’s team, featuring London-bred star Ade Orogbemi, commence their campaign in the Basketball Centre against perennial rivals Germany.
Wheelchair basketball keeps many of the rules of basketball, with two teams of five players, a standard sized court and a 10-foot high hoop. Dribbling, passing and moving at speed require exceptional hand coordination – players must bounce the ball after every two pushes of the wheels. See if you can spot how the defending team anticipates where the attacking dribbler will go: the secret is to watch the hand position on the wheels and the direction of the footplates. James Gill


From 9.15am and 1pm, C4, then 3.25pm, More4

After the nation fell in love with our roaring Olympic cyclists, it’s the turn of GB’s para-cyclists to dish up drama in the velodrome. A key member of the squad rolling into action today is Sarah Storey, one of the very few athletes of any kind to have won gold medals in entirely separate sports – first in swimming, then in cycling. She won swimming golds at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona (aged just 14) then three more at Atlanta. After switching to cycling in 2005 she won two more golds at Beijing and will be looking for her eighth overall in tonight’s individual C5 pursuit. Meanwhile, teammate Darren Kenny will be defending his C3 1km Time Trial title alongside Beijing silver medalist Rik Waddon. David Butcher

Archery and Shooting

From 9.15am, C4

When the archery contest opens at the Royal Artillery Barracks today it carries on a proud Paralympic tradition. At the forerunner of today’s Games, first held at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1948, archery was the main event and it has remained central to the games. Rules and procedures are virtually identical to those in able-bodied competition and athletes can cross codes: at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, for instance, Danielle Brown was the first Paralympian picked to represent England's able-bodied team. Brown opens the defence of her Paralympic title today in the women’s Individual Compound ranking round. Competing in the shooting at the same venue will be GB’s most experienced Paralympian, Di Coates, who makes an appearance in the air rifle competition for, incredibly, her eighth Games running. DB

Best of the rest

Equestrian Lee Pearson is one of those competitors who dominate their sport. The dressage specialist has nine Paralympic titles, with an extraordinary record of collecting gold in every event he has competed in over three Games.


Pearson rides in the early rounds of the B1 team event from 2pm. But the Games’ first medal for GB could come in the under-60kg Judo, where world champion Ben Quilter aims to improve on his fifth place in Beijing. What do you mean you’ve never watched blind judo before? Now’s the time to start. DB


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