Tony Sainsbury, standing, and Di Coates, right, pictured with WheelPower chief executive Martin McElhatton ©WheelPower

Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, has announced the latest inductees into its Hall of Fame.

Two Paralympic champions Jonathan Coggan MBE and Di Coates MBE, and Team GB Chef de Mission at five Games Tony Sainsbury OBE were inducted during a gala dinner, held to coincide with the Inter Spinal Unit Games.

The Inter Spinal Unit Games saw 80 athletes from 11 spinal units across England take part in 16 sports, as the event returned following a two-year absence caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The first inductee was British wheelchair rugby player Jonathan Coggan, who competed at five Paralympic Games, and was part of the line-up that won gold in the mixed team event at Tokyo 2020.

"I’m privileged and honoured to be the first wheelchair rugby player to be added to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame," said Coggan.

"Our success in Tokyo shined a light on our sport, and I want to build upon the success we have had to help more people to get involved.

"Wheelchair sport can have a really positive impact on your life so whilst you are at the Games make sure you try everything you can and you never know where these experiences will take you."

The second inductee was British air rifle shooter Di Coates, who won eight medals across five Paralympic Games, including three golds.

"After joining my local sports club and discovering I had an eye for shooting, I didn’t look back," said Coates.

"Playing sport is good for you physically but also mentally. To succeed as a Paralympic athlete, you have to enjoy what you do and have fun along the way."

Tokyo 2020 wheelchair rugby gold medallist Jonathan Coggan was among the latest inductees to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame ©WheelPower
Tokyo 2020 wheelchair rugby gold medallist Jonathan Coggan was among the latest inductees to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame ©WheelPower

Since retiring after competing at London 2012, her eighth Paralympics, Coates has been a coach with Disability Shooting GB.

The third inductee was Tony Sainsbury, who was the Chef de Mission for Team GB at five Paralympic Games, and performed the same role for the Independent Paralympics Team at Rio 2016.

"It’s a great honour to be back here at Stoke Mandeville Stadium where it all started for me," said Sainsbury.

"Today I was watching the Games with same enthusiasm, determination and commitment that I saw and felt in 1975, and all these memories came flooding back to me.

"Whatever we all choose to do in life, you’ve got to make the most of it."

Sainsbury is a recipient of the Paralympic Order, the highest honour given by the International Paralympic Committee, for his contribution to the Paralympic Movement.

WheelPower chairman Rob Wilson said: "The Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame was introduced in 2003 to honour the athletes and administrators who have made an outstanding contribution to wheelchair sport in this country.

"It carries on the long tradition of a roll of honour, which dates back to the birth of the Paralympic Movement at the stadium in the 1940s.

"Tony, Di and Jonathan have all contributed so much to wheelchair and Paralympic sport during their careers and I am delighted that we are inducting them into the Hall of Fame."

The Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame was started in 2003 to coincide with the opening of the new Stoke Mandeville Stadium, and aimed to honour and recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions to wheelchair sport.