Badminton will make its Paralympic debut in the coming days and there are four British hopefuls going for gold in Tokyo.
In the build-up to the Games, we have heard from physio Sinead Chambers and team leader Mark Beecher, and this weekend we will hear from two of the squad members who will make history when they step out on court.
First up is Martin Rooke, who is preparing to make his Paralympic bow at the age of 48 in the WH2 category – and check out our website tomorrow as we hear from Jack Shephard.
It was a very long trip out to Tokyo, probably 22 hours door to door, but under the circumstances it was a pretty good journey.
We had a very warm welcome at the hotel – the one we are staying in at the moment is purely for the ParalympicsGB athletes. The rowing squad had just left, judo were here when we arrived and then we had taekwondo with us.
It’s not very busy, it’s quiet, but it suits us and the training venue is just up the road. At the moment it doesn’t feel like a Paralympic event, it feels like a normal competition. We got a great welcome from the staff and ParalympicsGB, which was really nice.
Obviously, we’re restricted as to where we can go. We can only go from the hotel to the training venue and it’s fenced off so nobody can come near us.
But we’re safe, we’re sound, we’re looking after each other and we’ve just got to abide by what the Japanese protocols are. They look after us so we can’t complain.
We’ve just got to look after ourselves and make sure as a team that we’re safe, so that we can get on that court and start playing.
The training venue is 300 yards up a hill, it’s not far from us at all. The facilities were purposely built for the Paralympics. It’s brand new and it’s perfect.
It’s so nice and close, and easy access for everyone. You couldn’t really want any more. The gym’s perfect and we’re very well looked after here.
Prep has gone very well for all of us. We had a good prep before we got out here and if anything, we’ve upped the level even more.
Our coaches have been impressed. The intensity has been fantastic, our motivation is fantastic and we just can’t wait to get into the village now and get cracking.
At the moment the team is very calm and getting excited. Basically, we just want to get going. We’ve put an awful lot of work in the past three years – let alone the past 12 months – so we want to put that into practice and just get going.
Everyone’s really excited and once we get into the village that’ll build up tenfold and we’ll feel like we’re in a proper Paralympics. The excitement will just go through the roof and then we can get on the court and play.
For information on the Paralympic draw, click here.
Watch live para badminton action on Channel 4
View the latest results and schedule here
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