By Tom Degun

Rio 2016 Paralympic logoMay 5 - The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has hosted the first meeting of team leaders for Paralympic sports aiming to compete at Rio 2016.

The meeting outlined the activity the BPA has undertaken in the seven months since the close of London 2012.

It included a full review of London 2012 and provided plans for a variety of team leader workshops, which will take place over the course of the next four years.

It also shared feedback and practical information gathered on the recent BPA-led recces to Rio.

Rio 2016 will feature 22 sports, with Para-canoe and Para-triathlon set to join the 20 sports that appeared at London 2012.

The meeting was chaired by BPA director of sport Penny Briscoe while there were presentations from the organisation's chief executive Tim Hollingsworth, representatives from the sports and various members of BPA staff.

"The team leader event was a valuable opportunity for us to start the planning process with the people who will have ultimate responsibility for their sports in Rio in 2016," said Briscoe.

"We have enjoyed welcoming back the returning team leaders from the London cycle and it's been great to start getting to know the team leaders from our new sports, Para-canoe and Para-triathlon, and to meet new faces from sports who have seen a change in personnel since London.

"These workshops are an important part of a much wider team development strategy which aims to ensure staff are optimally prepared for their roles at the Games."

Penny Briscoe 3BPA director of sport Penny Briscoe chaired the first Paralympic team leader meeting for Rio 2016 cycle

The meeting was also welcomed by all the team leaders.

"The team leader workshop is very helpful to us at the start of our preparations for Rio," said cycling's Gareth Sheppard.

"Admittedly, we are a few years out but you need to begin that process very early on to ensure you maximise athlete performance in three and a half years' time."

Para-Canoe team leader Steve Harris also praised the meeting ahead of the sport's Paralympic debut.

"Para-Canoe is one of the new sports on the programme and it feels good to be included in the Paralympic family," said Harris.

"Overall, it's important to have as much information as possible at this stage.

"Being prepared is a cornerstone of the way I work and that starts now, so I can better plan and support the athletes that I'm working with."

Team leader workshops will now take place quarterly between this point and the end of 2016.

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