Tomorrow marks the start of the Paralympic games in Tokyo. 

A British team made up of 227 athletes across 19 of the 22 Paralympic sports are gearing up to begin competition in Japan after a challenging build-up severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here we take a look at the athletes with Essex links who will be competing over the next two weeks. 

Zoe Newson, Para Powerlifting

Colchester powerlifter Zoe Newson has been selected for ParalympicsGB for the 2020 Paralympic Games, in Tokyo.

The two-time Paralympic bronze medallist will compete in the women’s up to 41kg class.

Tokyo 2020 will be her third Paralympic Games, after success at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Read more >> Colchester's Zoe Newson to compete at her third Paralympic Games

Writing on her Twitter account, she said: 'I'm happy that I get to go to my third Paralympics games. Thank you for everyone support.'

An incredible career has seen Newson sweep the board, medalling at major international events having stood on the podium at the World Championships in 2017 and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Ellie Challis, Para Swimming

The 17-year-old has trained since she was eight-years-old for the chance to compete in the Paralympics. 

When she was just 16-months-old, Ellie, from Clacton, developed sepsis and meningitis which left her fighting for her life.

The disease ravaged her tiny body, resulting in her having to have both legs amputated below the knee and both arms at the elbow.

But it’s not held her back, not for one minute.

Her inspirational journey now reaching its pinnacle has left her devoted dad Paul struggling to hold back tears of pride.

Read more >> Superstar Ellie is off to the Tokyo Paralympics, and dad couldn't be prouder

Ellie’s first race is the women’s 50 metre backstroke on August 29 at 9am Japanese time.

Richard Chiassaro, Para athletics

Richard, who was born with spina bifida, will be comepting in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m in the T54 class. 

The athlete, from Harlow, picked up four medals at the 2016 European Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

Despite missing out on a medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Chiassaro was on the podium once again in 2017 when he claimed 200m bronze in front of a home crowd at the World Championships in London.

George Peasgood, Triathlon and cycling

George, from Saffron Walden, suffered traumatic injury to his left leg/ankle when he was two and a half years old.

George comes from a sporting background, with both of his parents completing Ironman triathlons amongst other achievements, and first started triathlon in 2009.

In 2011 he was classified as a para-triathlete at a British Triathlon Talent ID day.

In 2013 he won his first major medal, a bronze at the ITU World Championships in London, making him the youngest para-triathlon medallist ever at the age of 17.

George went on to his first Paralympic Games as the youngest member of the paratriathlon team in Rio 2016. 

Crystal Lane-Wright, cycling 

Crystal, from Chelmsford, competes in the C5 class for cycling. 

Lane-Wright, who was born with an under-developed left hand, was inspired to get involved in para sport by the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, and by December 2010 was part of the Great Britain Cycling Team.

At the Rio Olympics she won pursuit silver on the track and road race bronze.

Jaco Van Gass, cycling 

Former Colchester paratrooper Jaco van Gass will take part in the mixed team sprint in Tokyo. 

The former private turned to cycling after he was severely wounded in Afghanistan while out on patrol aged only 23 in May 2011.

Jaco and his para platoon were engaged by enemy forces in Afghanistan in May 2011 and after an intense 45 minute fire fight, Jaco was hit by a rocket grenade.

He lost the use of his left arm at the elbow, suffered a collapsed left lung and shrapnel wounds to his left side.

The blast also punctured internal organs, caused blast wounds to his upper thigh, and left him with a broken tibia and a fractured knee.

After 11 operations and intense rehab, Jaco recovered.