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Aussies aiming for top five at Paralympics

AAP logoAAP 2/09/2016 By Adrian Warren

Australian Paralympic co-captain Daniela Di Toro believes the nation can finish in the top five on the Rio Games medal tally despite conceding size and funding advantages to other countries.

Australia has finished in the top five of the medal table for the last five Paralympics.

"We are constantly punching above our weight," Di Toro told AAP at Sydney Airport on Friday.

Australia were second in Atlanta in 1996 and topped the table at home in Sydney four years later.

They finished fifth in each of the last three Games, never winning less than 23 gold and 79 overall medals since Atlanta.

Asked if Australia could retain their top five status in Rio this month Di Toro said "I believe so.

"We've got incredible athletes that are world champions at the moment.

"They are looking to convert that into medals.

"Ultimately this crew of athletes that we've got going are exceptional."

A team of over 170 spearheaded by large athletics and swimming sections will contest the games from September 7-18.

"We're certainly not the biggest team out there and certainly in terms of dollars we're not the most financed team out there," Di Toro said.

"But we're definitely a team that will absolutely give it a crack and we'll smash it up as best we can."

Di Toro is going to her sixth Paralympics, but has switched sports from tennis to table tennis.

Another team member changing sports is 2008 wheelchair basketball gold medallist Dylan Alcott, who will be representing in wheelchair tennis in Rio.

Australia is considered a good chance of performing well in track and field, swimming, cycling and the new Paralympic sport of canoeing.

In team sports, the mens wheelchair basketball is again among the favourites after winning the 2010 and 2014 world titles and taking silver behind Canada at the last Paralympics.

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