Paralympic Games: Day 6

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Gabi Down's guide to wheelchair fencing

It may be the halfway point of the Paralympic Games, but it's only just the beginning of the wheelchair fencing competitions at the ExCel centre, with the first medals being handed out at the men's and women's individual foil events.

For fans who followed the sport for the first time at the Olympic Games just a few weeks ago, you'll know it's a highly tactical and technical event and the wheelchair version is no different.

So who better than 14-year-old ParalympicsGB fencer Gabi Down to explain the ins and outs of the sport as it makes its bow in London?

As ever, School Reporters from around the UK have also been reporting on other Paralympic sports and athletes including the 'boccia brothers' Stephen and Peter McGuire, so read on to find out what other stories the pupils have focused on in such a historic year.

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Blackheath High School pupils on Radio 5 live discuss their Paralympic reporting experience

And some School Reporters have been lucky enough to be at the Olympic Park to see the action for themselves!

Students from Blackheath High School got the chance to go live on air on BBC Radio 5 live where they discussed the Paralympic Games and their experiences of reporting on it with presenter and former Paralympic swimmer Marc Woods.


With lightning reflexes and nerves of steel required, wheelchair fencing is an amazing test of skill, speed and accuracy.

Image copyright School Report
Image caption Gabi Down is one of the youngest members of ParalympicsGB

As the sport gets under way in London, School Report turned to a youthful member of ParalympicsGB to explain more about fencing and how the sport is structured at the Games.

Talking to classmates and School Reporters Matt and Maxine from Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, Gabi allowed them access to one of her training sessions.

Matt and Maxine learned all about wheelchair fencing, while Gabi's coach Baldip Sohata also revealed some of the key ingredients of a top fencer.

And if all this inspires you to get involved and try out the sport, remember one thing... you're going to need a big kit-bag!

You can see the video that Matt and Maxine produced at the top of the page or by clicking here.


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School Reporters interview the McGuire brothers about being in the GB Boccia team

Stephen and Peter McGuire narrowly missed out on a medal for GB when competing against Canada today.

Although the brothers have admitted to a touch of sibling rivalry when they first started out, Peter told students from Hounsdown School that they were "ecstatic" to be competing together in front of a home crowd at this year's Paralympics.

The McGuires have been working hard since they started seven years ago, keeping up the same consistency that led to great success for GB's boccia team at Beijing in 2008.

While they just missed out on a medal today, their place in the final four was impressive as Peter only returned from hospital an hour before yesterday's quarter-final clash with Thailand.

The duo explained prior to the Paralympics that they would be happy as long as one of them "brings home a medal", and will now be hoping for success in the upcoming individual events.


Image copyright PA
Image caption Sally Brown missed out on the final in the 200m earlier in the Games

Meanwhile in the athletics action, Great Britain's teenage sprinter Sally Brown will be hoping to speed her way into the finals of T46 100m race as she begins her pursuit in the heats.

Brown was in the running for the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award last year after she had won a bronze medal at the age of 16 in the Paralympic World Championships in New Zealand.

She took part in a School Report Q&A where she revealed all about her life as an athlete and how she balances school work with training.

And as for the sacrifices of being a top athlete, there's one thing that Sally really misses: "spoonfuls of Nutella!"

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