SALLY Barker is aiming to give Great Britain’s Paralympians a ‘helping hand’ in their quest for glory in Rio.

The Chorley-based sports massage therapist is one of two masseurs in the GB team whose role will be to make sure each athlete is loose, limbered and raring to go.

While the 42-year-old will literally have her hands full, Barker says it is the greatest moment of her career.

And if she can help the likes of Rawtenstall swimmer Tom Hamer and Chorley athlete Graeme Ballard win medals, then she will have achieved her goal.

“This is absolutely the highlight of my career,” said Barker.

“I have been working in elite sport for the last six years and to get to work at the Paralympics in Rio is the pinnacle.

“I will be part of a core team of staff who will be servicing all sports throughout the Games. I could be working with cyclists, swimmers, wheelchair rugby players, sitting volleyball players, the lot.

“I know I am going to be incredibly busy. There are hundreds of athletes in the GB team and only two masseurs, but it is something I am really looking forward to.”

Barker works with British Cycling on a weekly basis at the Velodrome in Manchester and in the past has worked with Rio gold medal winners Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell but has also treated Jade Jones, who clinched gold in Taekwondo in Brazil.

“I have done a lot of work with both para and able-bodied athletes over the years and know the likes of Jason and Laura and also Mark Cavendish, but my main work has been with those from the world of para cycling and para swimming,” said Barker, who was at the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Italy earlier this year and also accompanied the team to South Africa, Spain and Belgium.

Barker runs SB Sports Massage - which has practices in Chorley, Wigan and Leeds - and regularly works with Hamer, who she believes can add a Paralympic medal to his collection.

“I see Tom quite a lot at the Chorley practice and he is going to do really well,” added Barker.

“He is in very good shape, has trimmed down a lot and has been training hard. I have every confidence that he will win a medal.”

Barker admitted her daily routine means she is unlikely to see much of the action during the Games but is staying on for two weeks in Brazil for some sight seeing.

She said: “Each day I will be treating athletes from all sports whether that be prior to or after their events. Sports Massage will be the focus during each treatment but we also assist some of the athletes with stretching post-event.

“So I don’t think I will see much of Rio other than the Massage Centre in the Paralympic Village which will be pretty busy.

“However, I’m staying in Rio for two weeks and will be joined by my partner and my mum. I am looking forward to relaxing and site-seeing after the Games.”