Olympics and Paralympics / james blackwell

Bristol Paralympians to watch at Rio 2016

By oliver evans, Tuesday Sep 6, 2016

The world’s elite paralympic athletes are in Rio ready for Wednesday’s opening ceremony.

Hoping to emulate the Olympic medal success of Bristol’s Emily Diamond and Lily Owsley are shooter Karen Butler and footballer James Blackwell.

Karen Butler – Shooting


Karen started shooting in 1984 when working towards her gold Duke of Edinburgh award, the 49-year-old became more skilled at the sport after attending a ‘come and try’ session with the Girl Guides Association.

She then went on to compete in the 1991 European Championships in Bruges, Belgium. Yet 1992 brought her biggest year where she made her debut at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona. This was just 18 months after she began using the air rifle, and her success didn’t end there – Butler went on to compete in the games in Atlanta and Sydney.

When she’s not training and competing she works as an IT trainer, and also lends a hand at her local Girl Guides in Stoke Gifford.

But five years after winning the IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, she is back and sure to rise to the challenge at this year’s games.

Watch Butler in action during the Paralympics shooting events taking place from September 8.


James Blackwell – 7-a-side Football

James has been passionate about football all his life. Starting out as a youngster he represented the South West of England playing against teams such as Arsenal, Cardiff, and Coventry while playing in various league and cup wins along the way.

The 30-year-old said football helped him tell his wife he had cerebral palsy in April 2013, two months before their wedding.

His biggest highlights include being part of the 2014 CPISRA European Championships in Portugal, and the 2015 Cerebral Palsy World Championships where he earned England the highest ranking at fifth place securing his Paralympic place.

Watch him kick things off from September 8.


Read more: 19 Bristol athletes to watch in Rio

Latest articles