Ten Brits to watch at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Ian Payne

Former Sports Correspondent

Here are my 10 British athletes to watch as we head into the 2016 Rio Olympics.

I know, anyone could pick her. But I thought I may as well put down one dead cert. She won two gold medals at London 2012, has 7 World Championship golds and 10 European Championship wins, more than any man or woman.

In great form again, and still only 24, it would be a major surprise if she didn't bring back more medals from Rio. She had to overcome being born with a collapsed lung and severe asthma.

Little known fact: she had to give up trampolining because it left her breathless.

Credit: PA

Tiny but explosive, Claudia Fragapane puts amazing height and power into her tumbles and somersaults during her floor routine. She's 18, and just 4 ft 6', and has been practicing gymnastics since she was 5-years-old.

She came to national attention at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 when she won four gold medals, more than anyone had ever done before.

Might be pushed to win an Olympic medal, but could do with her team mates.

Little known fact: she's a devout church goer and says a prayer before each event.

Credit: PA

If you ask Anthony Fowler about his cousin, footballer Robbie Fowler, he rolls his eyes. "It's all anyone ever asks me," he says.

Success in Rio should ensure people ask him about himself in future. Middleweight (70 kgs, 11 stone). Good prospect. Commonwealth Gold medallist, World championship bronze medallist, but was unbeaten, having had to pull out of his semi final through injury. Part of the largest GB boxing team at an Olympics for 32 years - 10 men (every division) and 2 women.

Little known fact: he burst out crying after losing his first ever fight.

Credit: PA

Failed to qualify for London 2012 because of Glandular fever. Almost missed out this year too. She won her first two events at the Olympic Qualifying meet, but failed to record qualifying time.

Just got under the time in her final event , the 400 metres freestyle. Burst into tears when she made it. Swims for GB and Wales. Also finds time to coach all the youngsters at her first swimming club, the Swindon Tiger Sharks.

Little known fact: she beat her father in a swimming race aged 10.

Credit: PA

Liam Phillips won 10 British BMX titles in a row as a youngster. The 25-year-old has also been the world champion for the past two years. He gave up the sport in 2011 to try track cycling because he was always injured in BMX.

He had to have surgery for six seasons in a row. Went back to BMX to qualify for the London Olympics, but broke his collarbone and failed to win a medal there.

Little known fact: he broke his collarbone again last December but didn't tell anyone for six months.

  • Laura Muir - athletics

Credit: PA

Laura Muir is a Scottish middle distance runner who has hit form at just the right time, probably the most important factor in winning an Olympic medal.

Last Friday night she broke Dame Kelly Holmes's 12-year-old British 1500 metres record at the Anniversary games in London. She's 23 years old, and that run was a second faster than her previous best.

Little known fact: She is set to become a vet.

  • Giles Scott - sailing

Credit: PA

Giles Scott missed out on a place at the London 2012 games after losing out to four-time gold medallist Ben Ainslie (He's now working with Ainslie on GB's America's Cup Challenge).

Since that defeat, he's dominated his category (Finn Class). He was unbeaten for 3 years. Only a broken rudder saw him beaten.

Little known fact: he was tempted into race sailing by the promise of Mars bars.

  • Bianca Walkden - taekwondo

Credit: PA

Jade Jones may be the well known British name in this sport, but Liverpudlian Bianca Walkden is the reigning world champion in the +73kgs division.

Two months ago she won gold at the European championships to add to the gold she won at the same championships two years earlier.

Little known fact: Jones is her best friend and training partner.

  • Nick Dempsey - windsurfing

Credit: PA

At the age of 35 Nick Dempsey is a very experienced Olympian. This will be his fifth games. He finished 16th in Sydney in 2000, won a Bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, 4th in Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012. A gold in Rio would make him the most successful Olympic wind surfer.

Little known fact: he's a Norwich City fan.

  • Amber Hill - shooting

Credit: PA

At 18, Amber Hill is the youngest member of Team GB's shooting team. She is also the youngest ever Skeet world cup gold medallist.

She won the European Games title in Baku in 2015, and was also voted the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2013. She became the sport's youngest ever winner of a world cup series when she was just 15.

Little known fact: she was selected to England's senior women's team at the age of 12.