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Rio Paralympics set to be Fearnley's last

  • Rio Paralympics set to be Fearnley's last

    NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31: Kurt Fearnley of Australia is interviewed during the 2015 Hunter Track Classic on January 31, 2015 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Australia's Paralympic team will have the benefit of captains for the first time since 2004, with Kurt Fearnley and Daniela Di Toro to share the role in Rio.

Wheelchair athlete Fearnley, a three-time gold medallist, and Di Toro, a five-time paralympian who has switched from wheelchair tennis to para table tennis, were unveiled on Thursday.

The captain role was reintroduced having not been delegated since Athens to help strengthen team culture, Paralympic chef de mission Kate McLoughin said.

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She said the pair's experience was a key factor in handing them the responsibility of leading the country in September.

"These two are universally loved and liked by the entire athlete cohort," McLoughin told AAP.

"They're open. They're approachable.

"Having two team captains who've been there, done that before, they can bring that cohesiveness."

Fearnley is no stranger to the games experience, having competed in four Paralympics.

His advice for first-time competitors is simple: "Take a lot of deep breaths and enjoy."

"It might take a moment just to take a deep breath when you first enter a village or opening ceremony and look around and just say, `how good is this?'"

As well as the added responsibility of captaincy, Di Toro will have the challenge of being a "rookie" at her sport after switching a year ago due to injury.

It's her first Paralympics as a para table tennis player after competing in wheelchair tennis at all games since Atlanta in 1996.

"It's really interesting to be in a sport where I genuinely have no expectations on what's going to happen," she said.

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