Sport Week: Ones to watch in football 7-a-side28.05.2016
Here are three athletes expected to help their respective teams reach the podium in September.
Jan Francisco Brito da Coasta, Brazil
Francisco Brito da Costa is arguably the best football 7-a-side player in the world and will be hoping to make a big impact on home soil at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Originally spotted by an athlete from the Brazilian Institute of People with Physical Impairment who invited him to a try-out when he was 22, da Costa has terrorised defences on the international scene ever since with his skillful scoring ability.
He helped Brazil to a second place finish at the 2013 Intercontinental Cup and scored three goals as his country claimed bronze at the 2015 World Championships. Those who witnessed his performances throughout the tournament in Great Britain were in awe of his skills as he produced his own goal-of-the-tournament competition. Six weeks later, he led Brazil to gold at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Eduard Ramonov, Russia
Ramonov was voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament at the 2015 World Championships as Russia retained their crown with a 1-0 win over rivals Ukraine.
The striker bagged seven goals in six games as the free-scoring Russians went undefeated all competition. Rio 2016 will be his second Paralympic Games and he will be determined to retain the gold medal he helped Russia win at London 2012.
Kostyantyn Symashko, Ukraine
If there is any team that can stop Russia, Ukraine would be it, and goaltender Symashko would play a huge factor.
Symashko is renowned as one of the world’s best goalkeepers in football 7-a-side and is preparing for his third Paralympic Games in Rio. On his Paralympic debut in 2008, he was part of the Ukrainian team that won gold with a 2-1 extra time win over rivals Russia. In five games he conceded just two goals.
At London 2012, he had to settle for silver as Russia took the Paralympic title.
He was at his brilliant best at the 2015 World Championships in Great Britain and helped Ukraine qualify for the final, partly due to a sensational save he made in the final minutes of the semi-final win against Brazil. Unfortunately his side were again beaten in the final by Russia, but he left the tournament having conceded just two goals.
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.