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Paralympics swimmer only took up sport 4 months ago

There will be plenty of incredible stories to be heard and told as the Paralympics athletes line up to take part in the London 2012 event. One that has been revealed this week is of 16-year-old Rim Ju Song, who is competing in the swimming for North Korea. In fact, this is North Korea’s first and only Paralympian – and he doesn’t even live in North Korea and, until a few months ago, didn’t know how to swim. Rim, who lost an arm and leg in a construction accident, had his first training session in April but it wasn’t too promising.  He sank “like a rock,” said Kim Sung Chol, of the North Korean Paralympic Committee. But amazingly, Rim picked up the freestyle stroke (crawl) and in May he headed to Berlin for his first international competition. Only upon arrival did the North Koreans learn that Rim would need a second stroke to compete! So he spent the next two weeks learning the breaststroke. As luck would have it, despite finishing last in one event and being disqualified in the other, Rim was awarded a wild card slot in the Paralympics, where on September 4 he’ll compete in the 50m freestyle event.

Other Paralympics swimming events to watch

Our GB swimmers will be lining up with the rest of the Paralympics competitors. Here are a few names to look out for. Gemma Almond will swim in: Women's 100m Freestyle - S10 Women's 400m Freestyle - S10 Women's 100m Butterfly - S10 Women's 200m Ind. Medley - SM10 James Anderson in: Women's 100m Freestyle - S10 Women's 400m Freestyle - S10 Women's 100m Butterfly - S10 Women's 200m Ind. Medley - SM10 Jessica-Jane Applegate in: Women's 200m Freestyle - S14 Women's 100m Backstroke - S14 Claire Cashmore in: Women's 100m Freestyle - S9 Women's 100m Butterfly - S9 Women's 100m Breaststroke - SB8 Women's 200m Ind. Medley - SM9 Women's 4x100m Medley Relay - 34 Points James Clegg in: Men's 50m Freestyle - S12 Men's 100m Freestyle - S12 Men's 100m Butterfly - S12

Paralympics classifications

1–10: athletes with physical impairments. Class 1 swimmers’ impairment has the greatest impact on their ability to perform strokes; class 10 swimmers’ has the least impact. 11–13: athletes with a visual impairment. Class 11 swimmers have little or no sight; class 13 swimmers have limited sight. 14: athletes with an intellectual impairment compete in class 14. Breaststroke uses greater leg propulsion than any other stroke, therefore athletes with a physical impairment often have a different class for this event compared to Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly. This is also taken into account when athletes compete in the Individual Medley. This is shown by the following prefix: S before the class represents Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly events. SB before the class represents Breaststroke events. SM before the class represents Individual Medley events.
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