Change To Team GB Paralympic Dressage Team
A change to the Team GB Paralympic dressage team has been announced.
The British Paralympic Association, in conjunction with the British Dressage Para Selectors and Performance Manager, Georgina Sharples, have made a change to the Team GB quartet. The team change comes with less than two weeks until the Games begin in Tokyo (24 August – 5 September).
Eight-time Paralympic dressage champion, Sophie Christiansen has withdrawn from selection. This comes after her ride, Innuendo III (Louie), which she also owns, suffers from a ‘minor veterinary issue’.
She announced on her social media;
I’m absolutely heartbroken to announce that Louie and I will not be going to Tokyo. There’s always that risk with equestrian sport and unfortunately it was decided Louie wouldn’t have been able to give his best due to a minor veterinary issue.”
“I am truly gutted also for my team who worked tirelessly to get me selected and everyone who helped me fundraise and donated.”
Due to Sophie disability, like any Para-rider, she relies on a large team of help. However, to support her athletic ventures she is not provided with extra funding. Therefore, reliance on donations and sponsors is crucial when working toward an event such as Tokyo. Sophie is now working towards the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Meanwhile, FEI 2019 European Gold Medallist, Georgia Wilson, will be making her debut Paralympic appearance.Riding Sakura, owned by parents, Geoff and Julie Wilson, the pair will ride in the Grade II division.
The North Wales-based rider announced;
Unbelievably excited to announce that I will now be competing at the Paralympic Games at Tokyo as part of Team GB! I am devastated for Sophie Christiansen CBE but I hope I can follow in her footsteps and very grateful for all the support and advice she has given!
“A huge thank you to everyone who supports me and so excited for the opportunity with Suki”.
Georgia joins Natasha Baker (Keystone Dawn Chorus), Sir Lee Pearson (Breezer) and Sophie Wells (C Fatal Attraction) to make up Team GB’s squad for Tokyo.
British Equestrian Performance Director, Richard Waygood also recognised the change, commenting:
“This will be a personal disappointment to Sophie Christiansen, who has worked so hard for a chance to represent her country at her fifth consecutive Games. However, with the experience of Natasha, Lee and Sophie Wells now joined by Georgia, who, having tasted medal success in 2019, is ready for more, the British quartet will pose a strong challenge on the Paralympic stage.”
For more details, visit britishequestrian.org
Header Image; Georgia Wilson and Sakura (British Equestrian / Jon Stroud Media)
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