1. ITV Report

Ones to watch at ParalympicsGB

The London 2012 Paralympic Games opened with a dramatic and moving ceremony that had starring roles for the Queen, Professor Stephen Hawking - and a double amputee Afghan war veteran who rode a zip wire into the Olympic Stadium.

Fireworks during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Mayor of London has hailed the 300-strong London 2012 ParalympicsGB team as Britain’s ‘best ever’.

We look at some of today's West County's athletes.

Chloe Davies

Great Britain's Chloe Davies Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Swimmer Chloe Davis will be the youngest athlete at The Paralympics Games.

At just 13, Chloe, from Midsomer Norton, will represent ParalympicsGB in the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle events.

She trains in Trowbridge, and has been competing since she was seven years old. Her proudest achievement to date was first setting a new British record in the 100m Backstroke at the 2011 DSE National Short Course Championships in Sheffield.

Chloe currently combines her studies with training, along with her ambition is to qualify as a swimming teacher.

I was happy when I touched the wall and saw my qualifying time. I really liked racing in the pool in London because it is really fast, so I can't wait to go back.

– Chloe Davies

Deborah Criddle

Deborah started riding in her last year of school while still a teenager and after an accident in 1985, she started to ride again. She competes in the Grade 3 mixed team equestrian event.

Living and training in Taunton, London 2012 will be her forth Paralympic Games.

Stephanie Millward

Stephanie Millward Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Corsham's Stephanie Millward represented ParalympicsGB in Beijing, narrowly missing out on a medal in the 100m Backstroke (S9). London will be her second Games.Stephanie has always had a passion for swimming, and broke the British record for the 100m Backstroke when she was 15 years old (in non-disabled competition).

Melissa Nicholls

Previously a keen runner and mountain biker, Melissa races in the 100m and 200m races. London 2012 will be her Games debut.

Originally from Worcester, Melissa started competing and training after a wheelchair racing group was set up at her local track in Cheltenham.

She Melissa firstgot involved in the sport when shesearched for a suitable sport to get involved in following her initial recovery from a series of strokes. Her most memorable moment on the track to date was beating one of her greatest rivals at the 2011 Tartan Games and achieving a new personal best B in the 200m.

Melissa also has akeen interest in horses and has previously competed in para-dressage at national level. Her ambition is to continue her work in schools and education, in particular SENand disability and sports coaching.

Anthony Stephens

Anthony Stephens Credit: ElizabethDalziel/AP/Press Association Images

Somerset athlete Anthony Stephens enters the pool for the 50m freestyle swimming.

26-year-old Anthony learnt to swim at the age of just three. He took part in his first national competition at the age of eight. London 2012 will be his third Paralympic Games, and he currently holds a total of five Paralympic medals.

Anthony is originally from Highridge. He now lives in Swansea, where he qualified as a motor mechanic in 2008.

Karen Butler

Karen Butler Credit: ITV West

Karen Butler first started Shooting in 1984. She competes in the women’s R2-10m air rifle standing.

Bristol born and breed, Karen first started shooting while working towards her gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

At the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Karen made her Paralympic debut just 18 months after taking up the sport. She’s gone on to compete at two other Games, and London 2012 will be her forth.

Recent career highlights include the 2011 IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, where Karen won a quota place for London.

She enjoys her sport for the mental and physical skills needed to compete and she also appreciates the opportunity to compete against non-disabled athletes.

Outside of the sport, Karen is an assistant at her local Girl Guides and sails with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

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