After a year’s delay, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are almost upon us, with the opening ceremony taking place in the Japanese capital on Tuesday 24 August and kicking off a two-week festival of sporting endeavour that promises to be every bit as nail-biting as the Olympics.
An estimated 4,350 athletes from 160 countries will be taking part in 539 events across 22 sports in 21 venues, beginning with an exciting schedule of track cycling, swimming and wheelchair fencing on day one.
You can watch this summer’s Paralympics on Channel 4 and More 4 in the UK, with the latter channel dedicated to team sports and the pair showing more than 300-hours of coverage over the Games’ two-week duration between them.
There will also be a dedicated microsite featuring 16 livestreams and over 1,000 hours of footage.
Ade Adepitan will host the highlights show as part of a 70 per cent disabled presenting lineup that will include such familiar personalities as Sophie Morgan, JJ Chalmers, Ed Jackson, Lee McKenzie and Vick Hope in Japan and Clare Balding, Steph McGovern and Arthur Williams on home turf.
Expert pundits weighing in on the action in the studio include Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Steve Brown, Liam Malone, Danny Crates and Liz Johnson.
Adepitan and Balding will probably be the most immediately recognisable faces to casual viewers.
The former was a bronze medallist in wheelchair basketball at Athens 2004 and gold medallist at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester who has since become an admired documentary filmmaker and presenter, most recently addressing the climate emergency.
The latter is an award-winning BBC sports journalist who has worked on every Olympics since Atlanta 1996 and every Paralympics since Sydney 2000 and lately published a string of memoirs and children’s books.
Morgan is known for her contributions to Dispatches and Unreported World, Hope is heard regularly on BBC Radio One, Jackson is a former professional rugby player, Chalmers is an ex-Royal Marine commando while McGovern is best known for her economics punditry and for hosting the afternoon chat show Steph’s Packed Lunch.
Balding will be presenting live daily events coverage from Leeds as Chalmers and Jackson focus on the team events over on More 4, with each day’s action bookended by McGovern and Williams’ Paralympics Breakfast show and Adepitan’s Paralympics Today show rounding up matters in the evening.
The Last Leg’s Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe will also be on hand to present a daily comedy show examining the day’s events, with stand-up comedian Rosie Jones providing her take from Japan.
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