Paralympics GB medallists have returned home on a special flight from Rio de Janeiro. The Paralympic medallists' British Airways flight arrived into London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning (20 September) after they won 147 medals – 64 of them gold – in Brazil.
Paralympics GB finished second overall in the medal table, behind China and ahead of Ukraine. The team also beat their medal haul from London four years ago, winning 27 more medals in total – although their cause was aided by the ban imposed on Russia after a report found evidence of widespread doping in the country.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has confirmed that parades for the Olympians and Paralympians will be held in Manchester on 17 October and London a day later. Crouch said the medalists deserve to be celebrated as heroes.
"I know that Manchester, a city with a rich sporting history, and London, with its strong links with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will host brilliant celebrations that will give the British public a chance to say thank you to our amazing athlete heroes," she explained, the BBC reported.
Friends and family were waiting at the airport to greet the returning heroes. British Paralympian Will Bayley – who celebrated his win in the men's class seven table tennis final by jumping on the table – revealed he was inspired by the success of his fellow athletes. "The team spirit was electric. I know table tennis is an individual sport, but I feel a part of Para GB," he told the BBC.
"We've achieved so much out there in Rio. The medals tally just pushes you forward. When you see other sports being successful, you want to win. You see Sarah Storey winning three golds, it makes you become desperate."
The government confirmed that it is working with the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association and both cities to tie up the remaining details of the parades, which follows Team GB winning 67 medals – including 27 golds – at the Olympics. Meanwhile, Team GB chef de mission Mark England said the parades in Manchester and London would represent a proud moment for all the athletes.