A trio of defending Paralympic champions will again lead the charge for Australia’s Para-athletics Team at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Paralympics Australia announced the first eight track and field athletes selected to the 2024 Australian Paralympic Team at an event in Canberra on Tuesday, with more selections to follow in the coming months.

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, and New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athlete, Madison de Rozario, joins James Turner and Vanessa Low to form the experienced nucleus of the squad announced today, along with 2020 silver medallist Michal Burian and middle-distance star Michael Roeger, who is set to contest his fifth Paralympic Games.

They will be joined by NSWIS’s Mali Lovell, Angus Hincksman and Reece Langdon who will all make their Paralympic debut in Paris.

Lovell said she couldn’t wait to share the news with her parents.

“They knew that I could get there, it’s great, I’m just so excited at this point,” she said.

“My preparation has been awesome; I’ve been really consistent and getting a new PB recently was amazing.

“Athletics helps me push my boundaries and helps me build my resilience. I just love running. I’m really excited to see what I can achieve.”

Mali Lovell – off to Paris!

Four-time Paralympian Michael Roeger said he hopes Paris will be his best performance yet.

“I think a young Michael, looking back at his first one in Beijing 2008, would never have thought he’d be going to five games,” he said.

“We’ve learned a lot over the last three years since the last games, going to Tokyo was tough. So, we’ve taken on those learnings, and for me now, less is more.

“I just have to remember that and be patient, just be happy and healthy and then I’m going to be hard to beat in Paris.”

As a veteran of the team, Roeger’s best advice to the newcomers is to be relaxed heading into the Games.

“Enjoy it, be proud to wear the green and gold because not many people get that opportunity and you never know when it’s going to be your last one, so take it all in.”

Tuesday’s launch at the Australian Institute of Sport was attended by Paralympics Australia President Alison Creagh, Athletics Australia CEO Peter Bromley and Australian Paralympic Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin.

“Australian Para-athletics has always made us very proud,” McLoughlin said.

“They’ve always been one of the bigger teams and always been quite successful. It’s really exciting to see the next generation coming through.

“Being able to announce this mix of experienced Paralympians, with so many medals between them, along with some exciting newcomers is an important moment for us.

“The overall success of the Australian Paralympic Team will be reliant on strong performances from our Para-athletics team.”

“With more selections in Para-athletics to follow, we’re excited to see what this group can achieve.

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Peter Bromley said Australia has such a rich history in Para-athletics.

“We have every bit of confidence that this group of athletes can continue this success in Paris, with each of them claiming a medal at last year’s World Para Athletics Championships,” he said.

“This team has a big task ahead of them, but we’re looking forward to seeing them compete against the world’s best on the biggest stage there is.”

The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games athletics program will be held in France’s largest stadium, Stade de France, from August 30 to September 8.

By Natalie McGarry, Paralympics Australia.

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