Leading disability charity Path to Success has announced the sponsorship of twelve female para-athletes who are seeking to realise their dream of winning Paralympic Gold for Great Britain.
The Path to Tokyo campaign will provide financial support for aspiring athletes in four major disability sports: Para Powerlifting, Para Badminton, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Tennis.
Path to Success has pledged over £100K to the campaign over the next three years, which will cover the cost of coaching, training, travel, equipment and specialised sports wheelchairs for the sponsored athletes.
The recipients of Path to Tokyo sponsorship are: Para Powerlifters Louise Sugden and Olivia Broome, Para Badminton’s Mary Wilson, Rachel Choong, and Rebecca Bedford, Wheelchair Basketball player Sophie Patterson, Wheelchair Tennis stars Louise Hunt, Lucy Shuker, Lauren Jones and Jordanne Whiley and Wheelchair Tennis Juniors Abbie Breakwell and Ruby Bishop.
Path to Success has also announced that Channel 4 presenter and reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan has joined the charity as a patron. Jordan played Wheelchair Basketball for 15 years, captaining the Great Britain Junior team in the European and World Championships in 2006. He was part a prominent part of Channel 4’s award-winning coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics and won Best Male Personality at the 2017 Black British Entertainment Awards. In addition to his role with Channel 4, he campaigns passionately to support young people with disabilities. On joining the Path to Tokyo campaign, he said:
“Path to success is an important charity that provides support and funds for female athletes who are struggling to get an equal chance of fulfilling their potential. I’m glad to be involved and hope to be a part of ensuring more females athletes get the support they deserve.”
Despite the success of the London 2012 Paralympics in raising the profile of disability sport in the UK, many para athletes remain seriously underfunded, meaning they are forced to give up on their dreams if they cannot generate their own funding. People with disabilities are also more than twice as likely to be physically inactive than able-bodied people, meaning it is crucial that youngsters have role models in the world of disability sport.
Anita Choudhrie, founder of Path to Success, said:
“At a time when talented British women in disability sport severely lack both representation and funding, I am honoured to support their journey to the podium. The Path to Success mission continues to aim to secure the legacy of disability sport in the UK, and to inspire and empower a new generation of British female Paralympic stars. With the Path to Tokyo 2020 campaign, I am delighted to move forward in this intention, and create a positive impact on the athlete’s lives.”
About the Athletes:
Mary is a top ranked, Scottish Para-Badminton champion, and the only female team captain in the inaugural Invictus Games in London 2014. Path to Success’ support has enabled Mary to receive strength and conditioning coaching, as well as, physiotherapy to minimize her symptoms of multiple sclerosis as she competes.
Rachel started playing Badminton aged six, and is a triple World Champion. She picked up the UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year award at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Award and is the only English badminton player in history to win three titles at a World Championships.
Rebecca is a two times World Champion in Para Badminton Women’s Doubles. She is also part of the three times reigning World Champions GB Dwarf Women’s football team. She sites Ellie Simmonds, the Paralympics swimmer, as an inspiration for her, which serves to further reinforce how valuable the Path to Tokyo campaign is.
Swindon’s Louise Hunt is a Women’s Doubles winner at the Israel Open, Alpi Del Mare, the Biel-Bienne Indoors, the Polish Open and the Wroclaw Cup. She also hold a Sports Science and Performance Degree from Bath University, and works with community projects to encourage young people with disabilities.
Lucy is a Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Player with a career best ranking of World No. #5 in Singles and World No. #3 in Doubles. Current GB No.#1, Lucy is a Double Paralympic Medallist, former World Doubles Champion, three times Wimbledon Finalist and World Team Cup Medallist, amongst a number of other National and International successes.
Prior to an accident at the age of 14, Lauren competed as a professional football player. Following the accident, Lauren embraced her new athleticism on wheels playing tennis. Lauren has competed and placed first in the Junior World Tournament, and won the gold medal at the Junior World Championships. Lauren is a Tennis Sussex Ambassador and is ranked third in the United Kingdom.
Jordanne, 26, won bronze with Lucy Shuker in Women’s Doubles at the 2006 Summer Paralympics. She has been ranked as high as number three in the world, and won the US Open singles tournament in 2015. Tokyo will be her fourth Paralympic Games if she qualifies, a phenomenal achievement for a sportswoman yet to hit her peak.
Ruby is aiming to compete in the 2024 Paris Paralympics. Her short-term goals are to win the 2018 National School Games Singles title, represent GB in the World Team Cup and also to get a world ranking, despite having only been playing Wheelchair Tennis for two years.
Abbie hit the headlines as part of the ball crew at the 2017 Wheelchair Tennis Masters in Loughborough. Abbie is already a passionate fundraiser and campaigner, and she was recently called up to represent Great Britain at the World Team Cup. She says that sport has absolutely changed her life.
After a glittering career as a Wheelchair Basketball player spanning two Paralympics and featuring a host of European Championship bronze medals, Louise Sugden made the decision to switch discipline to Para Powerlifting. She won silver at the Commonwealth Games in April, and followed this up by becoming Para Powerlifting European Champion in May of 2018.
Adlington’s Olivia began Para Powerlifting just over eighteen months ago, but has rapidly progressed to be ranked in the Top 10 in the world. She has is ranked 2nd in the UK in the under 62kg weight class, and has finished 1st in the English Championships in both 2017 and 2018.
Now a regular in Senior GB squads and training camps, Sophie recently moved to Sheffield Hallam from Kings College London, where she is part of the GB programme. Her next major goal on the Path to Tokyo is securing selection for the 2018 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Hamburg in August.
About Path to Success
Inspired by her Grandfather’s philanthropy and her own passion and experience for charity, founder Anita Choudhrie established Path to Success in London in 2005 with a focus on causes that support disability. Most recently Path to Success has supported the London Titans Wheelchair Basketball Club, which has produced over 50 Team Great Britain players, yet receive no central sports funding. To raise funds for the athletes and awareness of Paralympic sports, Path to Success has hosted two fundraising charity Wheelchair Basketball Tournaments at the iconic Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park. The third edition; Wheelchair Basketball Tournament 2018 will follow this year on Tuesday, September 25th.