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Royal reception for Rio athletes

Queen welcomes Olympic and Paralympic stars at palace celebration

By Tony Jones

Britain's Olympic and Paralympic stars have hailed a Buckingham Palace reception celebrating their achievements as "amazing".

The sportsmen and women, who returned from the Rio Games this summer with a clutch of medals, were welcomed to the Queen's official London home to mark their success.

Among the members of the Royal Family who greeted the guests were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Princess Royal and the Duke of York. A homecoming parade was staged earlier in the capital for the athletes, who were also greeted by thousands in Manchester yesterday when a similar event was staged.

The Paralympics GB squad returned from Brazil with 147 medals overall, made up of 64 golds, 39 silvers and 44 bronze - their most successful Games since 1988.

Team GB athletes also triumphed in Brazil, exceeding their haul from London 2012 by bringing back 67 medals - 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze - in what was their greatest overseas Olympic Games.

Paralympian swimmer, Ellie Simmonds, said it was "really exciting" to be at the palace to celebrate the athletes' success.

Simmonds, who claimed her fifth gold medal after winning the 200m medley in Rio, added: "It's great to come to the palace, which is incredible, and to be honoured by the Olympics and Paralympics - it's amazing."

Simmonds, who has been to the palace on several occasions in the past, explained that she was hoping to meet Prince Harry this time.

"I've met them all apart from Prince Harry," she said.

Gold medal-winning boxer Nicola Adams added: "It's absolutely amazing - I'm so excited. It's going to be so much fun meeting all the royals, especially the Queen."

Adams was awarded an MBE by the monarch after her success at London 2012, and said the Queen wished her luck back then for Rio.

Belfast Telegraph


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