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Hertfordshire athletes at the 2008 Olympics

PUBLISHED: 14:08 24 July 2010 | UPDATED: 15:21 20 February 2013

Hatfield's Billy Joe Saunders

Hatfield's Billy Joe Saunders

Hertfordshire Olympians and Paralympians are hoping to strike gold in Beijing as they compete in the 2008 Olympics

64-96kg (Welterweight)

At 18 Billy Joe Saunders is the youngest member of the Great Britain boxing team to go to Beijing. The Hatfield born hopeful began boxing aged just seven and comes from a long-line of bare-knuckle fighters - his father, cousins and grandfather were all boxers, while his great-grandfather, Absolom Beeny, was a champion in fairground fighting booths. With 29 out of 29 senior level bouts under his belt Billy Joe secured his place at the Olympics by winning the bronze medal box-off over Slovakia's Pavol Hlavacka.

Individual Springboard, Synchronised Springboard

Former Welwyn Garden City resident Ben Swain, 22, describes the FINA medals he's won and competing in the Beijing World Cup as his finest sporting moments. Back in 2001 Ben got into the Junior Olympic programme and at the ASA National Senior Diving Championships in 2006 he took the silver and bronze in 1m and 3m boards respectively. He is currently doing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and like many hopefuls dreams of one day winning an Olympic gold medal.

Show Jumping
Indvidual Competition, Team Competition

Show jumping sensation Ben Maher, 25, from Bishop's Stortford, is currently ranked ninth by the British Show Jumping Association (BSJA). He was awarded the Best Up And Coming Rider award at the BSJA Awards ceremony in London which is voted for by the country's finest 100 show jumpers. Ben is thrilled to have been selected to represent Great Britain at this year's Beijing Olympics in the show jumping team. He will be riding Mr Daniel Paul's Rolette.

1500m Freestyle
Hemel Hempstead's Richard Charlesworth will represent Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games in the 1500m freestyle swimming event. The 19-year-old student won the BCh & GBR OG trials by just under two seconds from Loughborough's Daniel Fogg.

Synchronised Springboard

Student Hayley Sage had her first sporting triumph when she made it to the British team for the European Junior Championships at just 14. In 2006 she went on to win the bronze at the Commonwealth Games and now the 21-year-old from Hertford has secured her place in Beijing in the synchronised springboard diving category.

Synchronised Swimming
Duet Competition
Olivia Allison, 18, of St Albans, and partner Jenna Randall will be the UK's first synchronised swimmers to compete in the Olympic Games since 1992. In 2007 Olivia and Jenna were the first GBR synchronised swimmers to compete at a World Championship since 1998. Olivia hopes to attend the 2012 Olympics and bring home a medal for Great Britain.

Football (Paralympics)
Midfielder Richard Fox hails from Hemel Hempstead. Richard, who is 20, is a member of Britain's seven-a-side football team for athletes with cerebral palsy. His team finished in the top seven when they pipped Ireland at the post during the World Championships in Brazil, putting their team on route for Beijing. Richard says, 'I never ever thought of being a Paralympic athlete. It's beyond my wildest dreams. I'm so excited about the future and what I can achieve in my lifetime.'

Football (Paralympics)
Harpenden's David Clarke has been blind from birth and at 37 he has represented England at countless European and World Championships and is about to represent them all over again at this summer's Beijing Paralympics.


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