What to watch on Paralympics Day Four: Simmonds headlines British stars in action

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Simmonds, 26, has racked up a thrilling five Paralympic gold medals since storming onto the scene as a 13-year-old in Beijing
Simmonds, 26, has racked up a thrilling five Paralympic gold medals since storming onto the scene as a 13-year-old in Beijing

Golden girl Ellie Simmonds will be bidding to bounce back and cap a Paralympic super Saturday to savour as she leads the British line-up into battle today at Tokyo 2020, writes Will Jennings.

Five-time Games champion Simmonds, 26, will take to the Tokyo water alongside fellow swimming star Maisie Summers-Newton – who scorched the world record to beat her and capture SM6 200m medley glory on Thursday.

And triathlon, boccia and wheelchair basketball also feature as the first weekend of Paralympic action gets underway with a bang.

ParalympicsGB are already off to a flyer in Japan and ahead of a busy day of drama, here’s all you need to know about the key names in action.

Swimming – 1:07am – women’s SB6 100m breaststroke

It’s been over a decade since Simmonds captured hearts by winning two gold medals as a 13-year-old at Beijing 2008 and three Games cycles on, the Walsall star is still going strong.

Simmonds was ParalympicsGB’s flag bearer – alongside veteran archer John Stubbs, 56 – at the Opening Ceremony before finishing an underwhelming sixth – behind Summers-Newton – in Thursday’s SM6 200m medley.

But that event was very much a curtain-raiser for future challenges as Summers-Newton, 19, revealed it was a pep talk from ‘idol’ Simmonds that fired her up for her record-breaking gold.

Simmonds will be hoping to turn the tables in Saturday’s SB6 100m breaststroke and bolster her reputation as an undisputed British great.

Triathlon – 00:31am – women’s PTVI

Para-triathlon’s PTVI category sees visually-impaired athletes compete accompanied by a guide.

And one of ParalympicsGB’s chief medal hopes will be Dunfermline ace Alison Peasgood, who joins forces with guide Nikki Bartlett in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Peasgood, 33, scooped silver at Rio 2016 and stands tall as a two-time world and three-time European champion since 2014.

Can she swim, bike and run her way to Paralympic glory? She’ll certainly be hellbent on doing so as she looks to add a further stamp of authority to her glittering haul of achievements.

Men’s wheelchair basketball – 9:00am – Great Britain vs USA

Get ready for a heart-thumping transatlantic battle as ParalympicsGB’s wheelchair basketball players go head-to-head with the Americans at 9am.

Whether it’s a full English or New York-style pancakes that float your boat, this promises to be the perfect breakfast accompaniment to kick off your weekend in style.

Veteran Terry Bywater, 38, wants Great Britain’s young guns to make history and said: "We want to create a dynasty for this team and I think we can.

"This is the best squad I've ever played with, some of the youngsters coming through are just fantastic.”

Boccia – 10:25am – individual BC3

The boccia brothers are coming – but Scottish stars Jamie and Scott McCowan will be putting family ties firmly to one side at 10:25am on Saturday morning.

Boccia is a precision ball-game for athletes with severe physical disabilities and having featured at Rio 2016, the McCowan brothers are now experienced campaigners on the circuit.

But they’ll be duelling it out against one another at Tokyo 2020, with bragging rights up for grabs in what looks a tantalising tussle the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/

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