All eyes back on Beijing
The eyes of the sporting world return to Beijing this weekend as the Paralympic Games get underway and Mansfield athletes bid to follow in Rebecca Adlington's golden footsteps.
Mansfield has four athletes representing Team GB at the Games - Sam Hynd (swimming), Charlotte Henshaw (swimming), Chris Martin (discus) and Arnie Chan (table tennis).
Sam and Charlotte will be competing at the 'Cube', in the same Olympic pool where Rebecca famously swam to Olympic Gold in the 400m and 800m Freestyle three weeks ago.
Sam (17),lives in Kirkby-in-Ashfield but is part of the Water Meadows based Mansfield Nova Swim Squad coached by Mansfield District Council's Glenn Smith. He will be competing in four individual events - the S8 100m freestyle, the SB8 100m Breaststroke, the SM8 200m Individual Medley and the S8 400m Freestyle. He could also get a chance as part of the 4x100m Freestyle relay and the 4x100m Medley relay.
Sam is the world record holder in the S8 400m Freestyle but he will come face-to-face with his nemesis in Beijing. China's Xiaofu Wang is classed as the 'Michael Phelps' of the Paralympics and is sure to push Sam all the way.
Mansfield-born Charlotte (21) is also a product of the successful Mansfield swimming development programme. She is currently training at Sterling University where she is studying and will go in the SB6 100m Breaststroke in Beijing.
Whilst both Charlotte and Sam will be competing in their first Parlympics, for veteran Arnie Chan (50) it will be an incredible sixth successive Paralympics. Arnie will be competing in the individual and team class 3 competitions.
Completing the Mansfield contingent is discus-thrower Chris Martin (36). Chris, a member of Mansfield Harriers will be hoping for a second Olympic Gold, after achieving the feat at the Sydney Games in 2000. Chris actually retired from the sport in 2004 but started competing again last year and proved he was still capable of world-class performances.
Mansfield District Council Executive Mayor, Tony Egginton said: "I'm really looking forward to seeing our athletes in action in the Paralympics and wish them all the very best.
"No one can have failed to have been inspired by Rebecca Adlington's performances at the Olympics. I hope our local athletes can use it to add that extra few percent to their performances and hopefully bring more medals back home.
"We're especially proud that two more 'made in Mansfield' swimmers will be competing. The Council spends around £200,000 a year on swimming development and the systems we have in place for spotting and nurturing talent are clearly paying dividends. Our Swimming Development Officer, Glenn Smith who is joint-funded by Mansfield District and Notts County Council must take a great deal of credit for this."