The Tokyo Olympic Games will get underway in earnest today with dozens of athletes making their first appearances.

The games, which were postponed due to the pandemic last year, will see a number of Essex stars take part.

There will also be four sports will make their respective debuts at the Tokyo Olympics – karate, skateboarding, sport-climbing and surfing.

As the games get underway we have a look at the stars from Essex hoping for success at the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Laura Stephens

Brentwood Live:

The former Colchester Swimming Club member has been named by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to represent Great Britain at the Games, along with Lucy Hope.

The duo complete a swimming team of 30 that will head to Tokyo, next month.

Stephens, from Wix, was part of the British cohort that enjoyed a record performance at the recent European Aquatics Championships.

Swimming heats begin in Japan today (July 24) from 11am.

Max Whitlock

Brentwood Live:

The 28-year-old gymnast, who scooped double gold in Rio in 2016, is the most experienced member of a squad that also includes fellow world champion Joe Fraser, Giarnni Regini-Moran and James Hall.

Whitlock, who trains at the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon, will be appearing in his third games.

The first of the men’s gymnastic events begins on Monday (July 26) from 11am.

Alice Kinsella

Brentwood Live:

The Basildon gymnast will be taking part in her first games in Tokyo.

The 20-year-old has been selected for her Olympic debut as part of the Team GB women’s artistic squad alongside Amelie Morgan and the Gadirova twins, Jennifer and Jessica.

Daughter of former Republic of Ireland international Mark Kinsella and sister to Liam, a footballer for Walsall, the 2019 European beam champion comes from a family of sporting achievers.

The women’s gymnastic events get underway on Tuesday (July 27) from 11.45am.

Jessica Judd

Brentwood Live:

Judd has moved up to the 10,000m this season and will now be heading off to Tokyo this summer after running a personal best 31:20:84 this evening at the British Championships.

Judd, 26, grew up on Canvey and attended Castle View School.

This will be her first games. She will take part in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

The finals of these events take place on August 2 and August 7.

Zoe Newson

Brentwood Live:

Colchester powerlifter Zoe Newson has been selected for ParalympicsGB for the 2020 Paralympic Games, in Tokyo.

The two-time Paralympic bronze medallist will compete in the women’s up to 41kg class.

Tokyo 2020 will be her third Paralympic Games, after success at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be staged from August 24 to September 5.