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VIDEO REPORT: Countdown to Paralympics as Olympic flame starts journey from Stoke Mandeville

The Paralympics get under way in Rio next Wednesday, but tonight thousands are gathering at the birthplace of Paralympic sport, Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.

They'll be lighting the flame which will be taken to the opening ceremony in Brazil.

It's part of a day of celebration promoting disability sport, and as Rachel Hepworth reports, it might have uncovered some champions of the future.

Rachel spoke to 14 year old Rowan Norman, eight-time Paralympian Di Coates, Sarah Chambers from the Paralympics GB Carnival, and 11 year old wheelchair basketball player Matt Stan.

Dancers with disabilities prepare for Paralympic festival

Dancers at Surrey Choices Rhythmic Collision Credit: ITV Meridian

The Paralympics get underway in Rio in just over a week's time but before that there will be a huge festival at the Olympic Park in London.

Thousands of people are expected to attend National Paralympic Day and Liberty Festival - including a group of dancers with learning disabilities from Surrey, who've been selected to perform at its opening on September 3.

Emma Wilkinson reports:

Emma spoke to MD of Surrey Choices Martin Farrow, and Helen-Louise Lampard from Rhythmic Collision, as well as performers Debbie Taylor and Kerry Sandy.

Saints smash transfer record for Boufal

Boufal puts pen to paper Credit: Southampton FC

Southampton Football Club has completed the signing of Moroccan international Sofiane Boufal for a club-record undisclosed fee, believed to be around £16 million.

The attacking midfielder, who has put pen to paper on a five-year contract at St Mary’s, joins from Ligue 1 outfit Lille.

The 22 year old enjoyed a hugely successful year and a half with Lille; becoming one of the most highly-rated youngsters in France after moving from Angers in January 2015.

Speaking about his arrival at St Mary’s, Boufal said: “I’m very, very happy to sign for Southampton and I am really excited to play in St Mary’s Stadium in front of the fans.

“Southampton showed big interest in signing me, and I can see that this club is the best place for me to continue my progression as a footballer.

“I hope I can achieve many great things with Southampton. It is a very good club, with excellent facilities, and I feel it is the perfect environment to continue my development.”


Pushing Patey to the limit

On Sat Aug 27th there are free sporting events across our region. Organised by ITV and the National Lottery, it could be the biggest sports day the country has ever seen. At Reading Rowing Club celebrity Ben Fogle is taking on members of Team GB at a sprint challenge. So we sent our sports presenter Andrew Pate along to have a go - with some advice from club member Leighton King.

The South in Olympics top 10

The South of England won 9 Gold medals at the Rio Olympics - putting it ahead of Italy, Australia and many other countries. Diver Chris Mears (Reading), Rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Caversham, Reading), Rowers Alex Gregory and William Satch (Henley) Golfer Justin Rose (Fleet), Sailors Giles Scott and Saskia Clarke (Weymouth) and Kayaker Liam Heath (Maidenhead) among our winners.

Gold for Team GB's hockey team in tense final

Great Britain's Nicola White celebrates scoring a goal during the final Credit: PA Wire

The women's GB hockey team, including players from Reading, Southampton and West Chiltington in West Sussex, have clinched a gold medal.

Following a tense final, Team GB drew 3-3 with the Netherlands and the match was taken to penalties.

Hollie Webb and Sophie Bray scored both of their penalties with attempts from the Netherlands hitting the post.

The win is even more impressive for the women players as it's the first time they've ever made it to the final of the competition.

Great Britain's coach Craig Keegan speaks to his players during the gold medal match Credit: PA Wire
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