The Anders Foundation is delighted to support Becky Turner GB Downes Syndrome swimmer in her quest to win medals at the World Championship in Canada July 2018.
Mari Akhurst Durward
Mari Akhurst Durward has just been selected to represent Great Britain in July with her horse "Sky" at Hartpury Equestrian Centre, Gloucestershire, at the Hartpury 3* International.
Mari recently came second behind the triple Paralympic Gold Medalist at Wellington Equestrian Centre, Hook, Hants.
Our congratulations to Mari.
The Anders Foundation is helping Emma have regular individual coaching as she has progressed so well within our Talent Spotting Sessions over the last few years.
The 2017-2018 badminton season has ended on a high note for para-badminton player Emma Stoner. Having been selected for the Surrey U14A team, she enjoyed her first season of (non para) county matches. The season ended well; Surrey attended the annual invitational tournament in York against seven other county teams. Having progressed through the group stages, they won a hard fought semi final against Lothian and were through to the final against Yorkshire. The final was very close but Surrey narrowly conceded victory and took home silver medals. A week later, history repeated itself at the Shires Final held in Wolverhampton, Surrey again playing well but ultimately losing in the final to a strong Yorkshire side. The team should be proud of their achievements, expertly guided by their coaches Tom Saunders and Jackie Cunningham. They certainly won the prize for loudest team support! Emma also got the chance to take part in a coaching session at Ebbisham with two of her badminton hero's - Rajiv Ouseph and Chris Langridge - and was very interested to hear about Chris's experiences in the Surrey junior programme. She has plans to do lots more tournaments next year. Huge thanks to the Anders Foundation for all the continued support and encouragement, without which none of this would have been possible.
World School Games 2018
World School Games 2018
Pune – India
Team : Leah Allen, Tash Lado, Megan Thomas, Angie Wong
Coaches : Kat Hurrell & Rob Wylie
From the 18th to the 25th of April 2018 The Westgate School badminton team were given the opportunity to represent England playing in the World School Games in Pune, India. Having won gold in the National Schools Championships previously in 2017 this allowed them to qualify representing Team England in this prestigious event. Firstly the teams were welcomed with the opening ceremony and were lead in by horses. Tash Lado had the honour of leading England in on one of these horses. The opening ceremony included cultural dances and encouraging speeches and the tournament was nearing a start.
The competition began in the impressive 16 court arena after the opening ceremony. Westgate faced the strong French national team first, followed by China, Brazil and India B. The competition was strong and they gave some very good performances as a team finishing 6th in the world overall. Although the atmosphere was highly competitive and fierce the event gave opportunities to meet and interact with all of the other players from around the world.
After four tough days of competition in the 40 degree heat, the cultural programme was to follow, this included visiting castles and temples as well as the large street market in Pune. Here the team were able to witness the hardships and differences of life in India. One of the final nights consisted of a cultural evening where each nation held a stall relating to their country, containing national paraphernalia and delicacies. Each country also had to complete a performance on stage to the other Nations. This was a high spirited and enthusiastic event which the whole team thoroughly enjoyed.
Whilst preparing for the trip, money was raised in order to provide sporting equipment to a local Indian school. While the team were there they were lucky enough to be able to personally go and present the sports equipment along with meeting and talking with the children and the founder of the School. This was a moment that was particularly enjoyed by the team as they were able to see the impact they could make on the school first hand.
Thanks go to The Anders Foundation, Match Sports Agency and everyone that contributed to the Crowdfunding page. This experience was so different to any opportunity ever had before and they would collectively would like to thank everyone who made it possible for them to go. Overall an incredible time at The World School Games.
Mari Akhurst Durward
I came 4th at the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships with Sky, a wonderful achievement considering my trainer had been ill and I had to find a new trainer at very short notice.
Qualified and competed both horses at the Gold Semi Finals. Got selected to represent GB with both horses at Hartpury 3* International. Sky finished three times and this was second to a triple Paralympic gold medalist. Bear finished in the top 6 which was a great achievement for his first ever international and shows that we have an exciting future in the sport.
Sky and I qualified to compete at the Gold Finals at the British Dressage National Championships. We won and became Grade 1 Gold National Champion. Sky and I received the selection criteria for the Para Dressage Europeans 2017. I was selected onto the BEF Excel Talent Programme.
The results I have achieved this year have been incredible and really show that hard work pays off. With the continued deterioration in my condition it has not been easy but I have stuck with it and will continue to keep fighting. A lot of people have asked me how do you do it and that I am very inspiring but I have one motto and that is ‘everything happens for a reason’; I can do it as I have a goal and that’s to win a gold medal and until I do that I will not stop!
I am already so excited about 2018 and am really hoping we can step up another level, aiming for selection for a major championship this would be the absolute icing on the cake and would bring me a massive step closer to winning my first medal!
The season hasn’t got off to the best start but under exceptional circumstances I qualified and competed both horses at the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships Bear finished in the top 6 and Sky finished 3rd behind a Paralympic Gold Medalist and a European Champion.
Both boys have got some points towards summer qualification so that’s a good start and am now looking forward to summer coming.
Emma Stoner 12 years SL3 Player selected for Surrey U14 First Team
Report by Lorraine Brydie Disability - Badminton coach at Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club
Emma joined our weekly disability badminton sessions, at the club, when she was just 8 yrs old. At that time she was a reluctant participant, but, with a little persuasion we soon turned this around and she has made great strides since!
When Emma was just 10 yrs she competed in Surrey’s first senior Para-badminton tournament. Emma, at the time, knew that it was unlikely that she would win any games, but, this did not phase her in any way. I was so impressed by her attitude and the way she was able to focus and try to win every point she could. Last year she was runner up in the ladies doubles event!
In the last 3 years Emma has been attending the monthly Talent Spotting disability badminton Sessions at the club. These are sponsored by The Anders Foundation and were set up to aid promising youngsters, aged 8 – 18 years, gain access to more intense coaching which would eventually steer them along the performance pathway. These sessions were set up to talent spot youngsters who have good hand-eye co-ordination but have a disability, physical or learning.
In addition to these sessions, Emma joined the Raw Performance weekly junior sessions at the club. Playing alongside talented able-bodied players has been key to her most recent success. In the last year Emma has entered local Surrey junior events and has come runner up twice in the u14 girl’s singles tournament. Emma’s disability only requires her to play on a half court but she is competing and winning, against able-bodied players on a full court. This will stand her in good stead though as her classification may change. She is also playing doubles in these events which will give her invaluable experience in the future and will enhance her progress as an all-round event player.
As a result of her success in Surrey, just recently she was invited to join the u14 squad for weekly training, and, soon after, was quickly selected to play for their second team. Her match results have been so astounding that she has now been selected for the first team!
We are all very proud of Emma’s work ethic and sheer determination to give her very best each time she steps on the court. Her disability has never held her back. There is no doubt in my mind that she has all the vital components of a true champion and is part of the new wave of players coming through, who will go on to represent England in para badminton!!
The Wimbledon U19 Badminton Tournament
Sponsored by The Anders Foundation
The Wimbledon U19 Badminton Tournament sponsored by The Anders Foundation took place at the Wimbledon Squash & Racquets Club on the 9th and 10th of September
The results were as follows:
Men’s singles winner, Harry Huang (Beds) beat Rory Easton (Kent)
Ladies singles winner, Freya Patel Redfearn (Middx) beat Alexandra Oprisan (Sy)
Men’s doubles winners, Rory Easton and Harry Huang beat Ethan van Leeuwen (Bucks) and David Hong
Ladies doubles winners, Molly Chapman (Bucks) and Freya Patel Redfearn (Middx) beat Hope Warner and Pamela Reyes (Bucks)
Mixed doubles winners, Will Jones (Sy) and Asmita Chaudhari (Sy) beat Ethan van Leeuwen (Bucks) and Annie Lado (Hants)
Thanks to Val Andrew, Referee, and to Jenny Lacey for organizing the event.
Special Olympics National Games
Both John Hooper and Dee Weiner from Exeter, participating in Badminton events, were successful in the Special Olympics National Games at Sheffield in September 2017.
John won gold in his singles, silver in mens' doubles, and gold in mixed.
Dee won 1 gold and 1 silver medal.
The Anders Foundation congratulates them both.
Para Dressage Rider who is hoping to compete in the Tokyo Olympics
Friday 15th September 2017: LeMieux National Dressage Championships 2017- Gold Para Dressage Championship
Lost for words..... A dream come true!!
Today me and Sky became the Grade 1 National Champions with 71.49%.
I cannot believe it. I have one very big smile on my face and cannot thank everyone enough who supports me as without you this wouldn't have been possible!
Still not fully recovered and in a lot of pain! But completely worth it as I am now Grade 1 National Champion.
But as we all know I couldn't have done it without Mr Sky. He tried his heart out and looked after me. He felt incredible and did an amazing test, nailing his halts! With two judges giving us over 72%. He is so special and I love him so much. He is my legs and together we excel!
The run up to these champs was not one I would like to repeat. But we have done it and are Grade 1 National Champions. I couldn't be prouder of Sky. For me it’s also fantastic as I have given something back to everyone who has ever supported me and has believed in me.
Hard work really does pay off. It really is a dream come true; still on cloud 9.
Jamie Jessup, a member of the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club, despite defying medical science and his parents being told after he was born, to take him home to enjoy him as he wouldn't live past the age of 3 months, had a life saving Organ Transplant, and has been a former world Champion Gold medal winner. He has just returned from triumphing at the World Transplant Games 2017 in Malaga, Spain.
The World Transplant Games is an International sporting event for transplant athletes. It demonstrates the physical success of transplant surgery and the ability of transplant recipients to lead healthy, normal lives. The event aims to significantly enhance the understanding and acceptance of organ donation.The Games are held every two years, with the last three games being in Mar Del Plata, Argentina (2015), Durban, South Africa (2013) and Gotenburg, Sweden (2011). The games represent the largest organ donor awareness event in the world. We have the blessing and support of the World Transplant Games Federation and the International Olympic Committee.
After being selected for the World Games (for the 4th time) the day finally came to fly to Spain with Team GB. It was an amazing feeling being part of such a prestigious event and showing the world that after having a major Organ Transplant that we can still live Life to the full and compete on the world stage and promote Organ Donation. We all arrived safely and went on to the opening ceremony and meet the other teams / countries. The World Transplant Games, supported by the International Olympic Committee, represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world, featuring a week of 13 sporting events. Team Great Britain and NI, joined over 800 other transplant athletes from 44 countries across the globe.
I am thrilled with my achievement this year at the World Games competing against tough opposition, Thailand, Germany, Finland, Iran & our own GB Team. I came away with 3 World medals, winning Silver with my mens' doubles partner, Jon Fox from Dorchester; Bronze for singles; and Bronze for mixed doubles with Elizabeth Hosford from Worthing.
Silver - Men's Doubles
Bronze - Mixed Doubles (PB)
Bronze - Singles
Over all the Games was a Great success with Team GB winning and storming it on the Medal table front with a total of 360 Medals - 122 Golds, 90 Silver & 104 Bronze. Team GB Won at the Awards evening Most Outstanding Best Team Award. Something we as a Team have now won twice!
I would now like to say a personal thank you to all my Sponsors particularly Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club; Sam Phillips for all of his time, efforts & coaching; The Anders Foundation for sponsorship to help me achieve my Dream and get me out to represent Team GB; Jin Yee Lim and his company "Liminaires" for his "Vita Jewel Gem Water Bottle" & finally thank you to everyone at WR&FC for all your help over the years and continued support.
2017 Success Stories
IN 2017 WE HAVE HELPED THE FOLLOWING:
The St. Ives (Bingley) Riding for the Disabled
Bedford and District Handicapped Riding Association
Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club to purchase a ramp allowing wheelchair players easy access to the Badminton Courts.
We continue to support Alex Lane in his quest to become the top Badminton player in England
Support for Dee Weiner and John Hooper to attend the Special Olympics in Sheffield
We again supported Jamie Jessup to attend the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain, where he won three medals. Silver in Mens’ Doubles; Bronze in Mens’ Singles and Bronze in Mixed. A report will appear shortly.
We continue to support the Talent Spotting group at WR&FC with special coaching from qualified Badminton England coaches
The Oak Lodge School for the Deaf in Balham, South London.
27th August, 2017 we are sponsoring a Badminton match between England Youth and Past Masters at the National Badminton Centre, Milton Keynes, helping the young players test their skills against their peers. Spectators are welcome, free entry from 10.30am – 4pm.
9-10 September, 2017 again we are the main sponsors of the U19 Wimbledon Open Badminton Tournament. Spectators are welcome, free entry.
Para Dressage Rider who is hoping to compete in the Tokyo Olympics
Hartpury Festival of Dressage - CPEDI3*
Team Test-Day 1
The boys did good today!! Massive thanks to my super support team and super trainer Rob!! 2nd place and 70% with Mr Sky! And 6th place and just under 70% with Bear at his first ever international. And only 3rd time riding team test!! Couldn't be a prouder mum; over the moon!!
Individual Test- Day 2
Sky came 2nd today and 2nd overall!! Behind a triple Paralympic gold medallist!! And my baby at his first ever international came 6th again and was in the top 6 overall!! Could not be prouder! Literally had nothing left to give today but both boys looked after me, not our best tests today. Hope Sky has his dancing shoes on tomorrow :D
Freestyle Test- Day 3
Finished off the competition with another 2nd place; behind a triple Paralympic gold medallist!! So close to 1st only 3.5% away; got 71.82% not bad considering it was Bears music and not ridden it many times before!! Kicking myself as was absolutely spot on and would have finished bang on until I added an extra 8m circle!! Lesson learnt!! Silly girl!! So proud of Sky, he loves dancing to his music.
Had an absolutely amazing time at Hartpury Festival of Dressage representing GB with both boys a true honour! Both boys were amazing and I could not be prouder of them. Bear took everything in his stride and acted like he had done it all before! Sky was a true pro and rose to the occasion!
To finish with three second places with scores over 69% was amazing especially as it was 2nd to a triple Paralympic gold medallist. For me it was also fantastic to have Bear who is all knew to it finish with two 6th places and to be in the top 6 overall!! Over the moon and on cloud 9!
I literally cannot thank everyone enough who supports me. I could not of achieved what I have done over the last week if it wasn't for you all. Many Thanks!
Mari’s next event is a winter qualifier on the 29th August at Widmer EC in Bucks.
The Anders Foundation sponsored the Surrey Open Para Badminton tournament at the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club (SW19) on Saturday 18th March 2017.
It was a great success with thanks to the following for their organizing skills: Carol Bilton, Lorraine Brydie, Judith Fisher, Gary Sexton and Marion Eyles.
Para Dressage Rider - Mari Durward-Akhurst
The Anders Foundation is helping Mari reach her goal of a place in her Grade 1 Dressage event for the Tokyo Olympics, 2020.
I am a Grade 1 (new grades for 2017) Para Dressage Rider; I have cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs and has left me weaker down my left side. As a result of my CP my coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. I compete in Para Dressage at National and International level.
I am extremely grateful to have received a grant from the Anders Foundation. It will help enormously and allow me to have my trainer at all my competitions. It is important that I have my trainer at competitions as I am unable to work my horses in anything but walk; my trainer is able to warm them up properly for me and make sure that they are ready for me to go and produce the best result that we can in our tests.
Horses are my legs and together we excel. I used to get bullied a lot when I was younger as I was different to other children but then I found riding and my life changed. This was something that I was extremely good at and able to succeed at.
I am told very often that I am an inspiration to others and I enjoy inspiring the next generation of para riders. My motto has always been ‘everything happens for a reason’. A lot has been thrown at me but I have dealt with it and will keep pushing and fighting until I reach my long term goal of getting to the Paralympics and winning a gold medal.
Results from 2016
Grade 3 Restricted Winter Championships before being re classified to a 1a (the most impaired of all the grades) as my condition has deteriorated.
Grade 1a Silver Restricted Champion.
2nd British Dressage Nationals in the KBIS Gold Grade 1a Para Championships class.
Selected to represent GB at Hartpury International my first ever 3* International; I was placed and finished just behind Rio Paralympian's.
Short term: Compete at the Para Dressage Restricted Winter Championships; qualify for all the major National and International competitions in the Uk.
Long term: To be selected for the World Equestrian Games, Europeans and Paralympics in Tokyo and beyond and to win a gold medal.
Wimbledon U19 Badminton Tournament 2016
17-18 September 2016
At The Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club
Sponsored by The Anders Foundation
Our thanks again to the organizers, Val Andrews and Jenny Lacey.
Events were won by:
Boys' Singles: Johnnie Torjussen (Bucks)
Girls' Singles: Abigail Holden (Berks)
Boys' Doubles: Johnnie Torjussen and Callum Hemming (Bucks)
Girls' Doubles: Fee Teng Liew (Bucks) and Elizabeth Tolman (Merseyside)
Mixed Doubles: Callum Hemming and Fee Teng Lieu (Bucks)
Welsh 4 Nations Para Badminton Championship
Shaz Barnes writes after The Anders Foundation helped her purchase a new sports wheelchair:
I attach some photos of the chair being 'christened' at the Welsh 4 Nations Para Badminton Championship in August 2016, winning 2 silver medals.
The following photo shows from left, David Follett, Owen Kilburn and Shaz Barnes at the recent Welsh 4 Nations Para Badminton Championships. The Anders Foundation has helped all three players purchase their sports wheelchairs.
Good Luck to them all for the European Para Badminton Champs in October in Beek, The Netherlands.
Owen Kilburn - Update July 2016
I've just had a couple of Tournaments, the UK 4 Nations Championships and the International Irish Open.
In the 4 Nations Championships I won Gold in the mixed doubles and came 3rd in the mens' doubles but had to pull out of the singles due to illness.
At the Irish International I made it to the last 16 in mixed doubles just losing out to a pair from Japan. In both mens' singles and doubles I was drawn against the top seeds so wasn't able to progress further.
I have just finished University and am currently looking for employment.
Visions inclusive badminton club
Visions inclusive badminton club in Exmouth, Devon is run by former England Badminton player, Sue Louis Williams.
The below is written by Sue:
Our inclusive sessions are going really well; we are always full and have now designed our own awards for our players so that they have goals and targets to work towards.
All our players are from local primary schools which I visit on a regular basis.The schools then nominate 2 players who are physically disabled and 2 players who have social difficulties. We offer them 4 free sessions..After that if they are enjoying the sessions they can join our inclusive club and pay £2 per visit. We have 2 children whom we fund because they are in care and also have 5 players who are now older (15 years) but still enjoy our sessions and cannot attend any other sports clubs outside the school environment because of their disabilities.
We work closely with the local secondary school and I put all the badminton players through the young officials and young helpers awards; once they have done these awards we then use them at our sessions and pay then £5. It is always a struggle for us to make ends meet as we need a high ratio of coaches and helpers for each session.
We have now purchased 4 junior sports wheel chairs. The boys chose green, red and blue frames and the girl a bright pink frame. These players then use the chairs, sometimes away from our club as I would rather they were in use than sitting in our cupboard during the week. We have enough specialist equipment but could always do financially with help towards coaches costs and court hire.
David Follett of Devon Racqueteers Club takes the 4 players in wheel chairs and this is so motivating for the players and their parents to see what can be achieved with hard work. We then have myself and Sharon Hawkins who is the main coach at the Racqueteers in Exeter, along with England players, Alex and Ben Lane, and our young helpers.
Bedford & District Handicapped Riders Assn.
Bedford and District Handicapped Riders Association (BDHRA) was formed over 53 years ago and provides horse riding as therapy to disabled children and adults in Bedfordshire. Receiving no state funding they exist entirely from donations and charitable gifting.
Over the course of a year approximately 113 children and adults enjoy the benefits of riding. It strengthens the core enabling children who may be confined to a wheelchair to sit for longer periods, it lengthens muscles which helps prevents spasms and also becomes a social life for people who find access to sport more difficult. Sometimes it takes three volunteers to help a rider – one to lead the horse and two to assist either side.
Last year, the BDHRA received the Queens Award for Voluntary Services – the highest accolade for charitable causes.
Inaugural Deaf & SEN Badminton Festival
22 June 2016 at Wimbledon R&FC
Sponsored by The Anders Foundation
Pupils from Blanche Nevile School, North London and Oak Lodge School for the Deaf, Balham, this week, took part in the above event.
It was aimed at youngsters with a hearing impairment and/or with learning difficulties who had not represented their school before in badminton.
The morning started with a fun warm up game. Fundamental skill stations were then set up for the pupils to move round in groups. This was followed by a fun game led by coaches Lorraine Brydie, Carol Bilton and Gary Sexton to finish off the mornings activities. After lunch the youngsters took part in a fun tournament which culminated in two finals. The A Singles final was particularly close where the players were given lots of positive encouragement from the side-lines.
Trophies donated by Keith Henderson were awarded to:
A Singles Winner – Brady Landu (Blanche Nevile) who beat Carolina Neves-Pinto (Blanche Nevile) 15-10. This was played on a full court.
B Singles Winner – Isabella Ealey Newman (Oak Lodge) who beat Hamid Baig (Oak Lodge) 11-4. This was played on a ½ court.
A trophy was also awarded for the “Most Improved Player” of the day. The coaches decided that Jessia McDonagh of Blanche Nevile was the worthy winner of this.
All winners received a gold medal and racquet donated by Peter Smith Of HL Badminton Ltd. The runners up received a Silver medal together with an Anders Foundation T shirt. Jessia received a t shirt also. All participants received a medal for taking part. The trophies shall be engraved and kept at the Club for safe-keeping.
A special thanks must go to The Anders Foundation Charitable Trust who generously sponsored the event together with Peter Smith of HL Badminton who donated two racquets and covers for the winners.
Our congratulations to Alex Lane on a great season reaching his first National Mens’ singles final and being selected to represent England in the Thomas Cup in China.
The Anders Foundation has supported Alex Lane for two tournaments in 2016 and will continue supporting him during the 2016-2017 season.
My Badminton year 2016 with the support of the Anders Foundation
At the start of this Badminton year I decided to leave full time training at the National Badminton centre in Milton Keynes, after training for 2 years, and attend Bath University. As a junior I won the European under 17 Singles Gold medal and our National Under 11, 13, 15, and17 titles. I competed for England at the Youth Olympic Games in Australia and the World Junior Championships in Japan.
When I left the National Badminton Centre all my funding was cut as I was no longer playing full time; however I still wanted to compete and train full time while studying for my degree with the plan of returning to full time play after university. The Anders Foundation has supported me this year and without their help I wouldn’t have been able to carry on playing the European circuit.
This year has been my best year since leaving the junior circuit. At the start of the year I won my first senior International winning the Mens’ singles title at the Slovak Open. I then competed in the Welsh and Dutch Opens where I reached the quarter finals. I also played in the Scottish, Orleans, Polish and Hungary Internationals.
At the English National Championships this year I reached my first singles final beating Toby Penty, ranked No. 2 in England and 103 in the world, in the semi-finals. I was then picked to represent England at the World Team Championships, the Thomas Cup, in China in May. Here I was awarded my first Senior Cap and only lost in three close sets to Soon Huat Goh from Malaysia who is ranked number 53 in the world. In my second match I beat David Peng of Germany.
I have now finished my first year at university so will be training back at the National Badminton Centre throughout the summer with my next tournament in August.
The Anders Foundation, together with Cares4Kids support the Talent Spotting sessions for young people from 8 – 18 years with disabilities.
We are always looking for more participants and please contact The Anders Foundation if you wish to join us at the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club, SW19.
Below are a stories written by some of those taking part:
Temi Johnson writes
I like learning new skills in Badminton, playing with my friends and meeting new people
Emma Stoner writes
The extra sessions have really improved my Badminton this year. My technique is much better and I am definitely fitter. I have played in my first tournaments; I was runner up in the Surrey U11B Girls and played in all 3 categories in the Surrey Parabadminton tournament. I have met some of the England Parabadminton players and I would love to play for England one day.
Thomas Vogt writes
Lorraine’s sessions has dramatically improved my individual performance in Badminton and has given me the necessary tools to improve on as well. The sessions are also a great social time too I feel that everyone is always welcoming and supportive of each other, I have also noticed huge improvement across the board from all of participants. Overall I am very grateful for this opportunity to practice and improve my Badminton, and in particular being able to teach me to maintain my cool whilst playing Badminton and how to co-operate well with a huge variety of individuals.
Oscar Warr writes
I have really improved with these sessions. My fitness has gone up and I feel more agile and have more movement on the court. I feel better for it. My drop shot has improved and I am better able to get the shuttlecock to the back of the court when I'm standing sideways. I really appreciate the one to one coaching and feel very lucky.
Any Currency delivers the first winner for the Martin Keighley stable at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival proudly wearing the Anders Foundation sponsorship logo.
Owen also competed in the 4 Nations in Scotland where he won a Gold in his mixed doubles and 3rd in singles. He says his next aim is to achieve a medal in the European Championships in November 2016. Well done to him too.
David Follett for whom the Anders Foundation recently helped buy a new sports wheelchair has just let us know he returned from the 4 Nations in Scotland with 3 silver medals. He feels his new chair has helped improve his game.
Well done David – onwards and upwards to the Paralympics in Tokyo, 2020
Talent Spotting Sessions
Talent spotting sessions for disabled youngsters aged 8-18 years.
The Talent Spotting sessions at Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club sponsored by The Anders Foundation and Cares4Kids continue on a regular basis.
We are trying to increase numbers but once the football season is over, hopefully more will return. Our thanks to Carol Bilton and Lorraine Brydie for leading the sessions as well as to all the other coaches and helpers.
Well Done Emma Stoner
Emma is a disability badminton player with great potential. She is only 10 years old and entered her first able-bodied competition, the Surrey Under11B girls tournament and was awarded the Silver medal.
Emma has a SL3 classification which only requires her to play half court singles in a para-badminton event. She won her medal taking on an able-bodied player in the final on full court after winning 4/5 games in the pool stages!
Emma works very hard at her fitness and technique and is a regular member of the weekly disability badminton and Talent Spotting sessions at the club.
David Follet is a member of the Devon Racqueteers wheelchair badminton club.
The Anders Foundation has just helped David buy a new wheelchair and hope it will help him reach his goal - to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Good Luck David!
I had a road traffic accident in 2007 which left me paralysed from C6/C7 and in a wheelchair. A year later I took up wheelchair badminton, I have now been to 3 world championships representing England, with the most recent in Stoke Mandeville in 2015 where I reached the last 16.
I am now starting 2016 with a brand new sports chair with massive thanks to the Anders foundation for their contribution, this will hopefully push me to the next level. My aim is to be in the top 10 players in the world and to go to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo"
Wimbledon U19 Tournament 2015
Sponsored by The Anders Foundation
The Wimbledon Under 19 tournament 12-13 September held at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club, had participants from Denmark, Scotland and England.
Our thanks again to the organizers, Val Andrews and Jenny Lacey; and to Neil Andrews for taking the photos.
Events were won by:
Men's Singles: Jesper Toft (Denmark) – r-up Alex Dunn (Scotland)
Ladies Singles: Abigail Holden (Berks) – r-up Samodani Wijetunge (Surrey)
Men's Doubles: Max Flynn (Hants) & David King (Sx) – r-up Matthew Clare (Yorks) & Alex Dunn (Scotland)
Ladies Doubles: Libby McMorrow (Hants) & Kirby Ngan (Avon) - r-up Elizabeth Tolman (Lancs) & Fee Teng Liew (Bucks)
Mixed Doubles: Matthew Clare (Yorks) & Nicola Gresty (Glos) – r-up Max Flynn (Hants) & Fee Teng Liew (Bucks)
Jamie Jessup - Update
I'm glad to say I managed to bring home 2 world medals for Team GB this year, a Silver in the singles and a gold in the Men's Doubles!
I am so thrilled with the results that I got, words cannot describe how I feel at the moment. I would now like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to you and the Anders Foundation for your kind generosity with regards to your sponsorship, words cannot express how grateful I am with the help you have given me to allow me to fulfil my dream and ambition to represent my Country and play a sport that has kept me fit and healthy after my Kidney Transplant and help spread the word about organ donation, and show how after having a transplant you can generally lead a healthy life and show how you can still participate in sporting events. The World Games this year were held in Argentina in Mar Del Plata and over 40 different countries were competing giving it a total of over 2,000 athletes who have all had life saving organ transplants, so it was a great way of spreading the word in Argentina about Organ donation. I have attached some pictures of the singles and the doubles medal ceremony. Thank you once again for your support, I can't thank you enough.
Owen Kilburn - Update
A quick update on how I got on over the weekend at the Welsh leg of the 4 Nations.
I finished 3rd in the WH1 singles and runner-up in the wheelchair mens doubles losing 19-21 -16-21.
Unfortunately didn't get to contest the wheelchair mixed doubles as my partner had to withdraw due to injury and wasn't worth risking further damage with the World Championships just 2 weeks away.
On the weekend of June 13th – 14th Owen competed in the English leg of the 4 Nations Para-Badminton series.
Owen reached the semi-finals of the Wheelchair 1 mens singles losing out to top seed and world number 5 Connor Dua-Harper (Devon) 21-9 21-12.
Playing with Denny Vettom (Aylesbury) in the mens doubles, Owen reached the final. Struggling to find any form or rhythm in the match, Owen again lost out to Dua-Harper and his Devon Racqueteers team mate David Follett 21 – 9 21 – 10.
In the mixed doubles Owen paired up with Scotlands Fiona Christie. After being in top form In the group stage, defeating Dua-Harper and his partner Sharon Jones-Barnes in the group stage 21 – 15 21 – 12, the two pairs met again the final. The final was a much closer affair with the victors this time being Dua-Harper and Jones-Barnes with a 24-22 21-18 scoreline.
Next up for Owen is the Irish Para-Badminton International Open in Dublin from June 24th -28th where he will try to gain as much world ranking points as possible to get a good ranking for the World Championships later on in the year to be hosted by Badminton England at Stoke Mandeville stadium.
Carlton Irish Para-Badminton Open
On the 26th – 28th June Badminton Ireland hosted the first Carlton Irish Para-Badminton Open and the competition attracted many of the world’s leading Para-Badminton players.
Nottinghamshires Team England Para-Badminton player Owen Kilburn came away from the championships with a Bronze medal in the wheelchair mens doubles pairing up with Jordy Brouwer Von Gonzonbach from the Netherlands losing out to the eventual winners and top seeds Ho Yuen Chan (Hong Kong) / David Toupe (France) in the semi final.
In the wheelchair mixed doubles Owen and his partner Fiona Christie of Scotland reached the quarter finals and were beaten by the first seeded pairing of Ho Yuen Chan / Karin Suter (Switzerland).
In the wheelchair class 1 mens singles Owen put in his best singles performances in International competition so far by reaching the quarter finals and just losing out to 3rd seed Avni Kertmen from Turkey in a very close 55 minute match with the scores of 25-23 22-24 19-21.
Team England came away with a total of 10 medals and the championships were great preparation for the upcoming Para-Badminton world championships to be hosted by Badminton England in September at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the home and birthplace of the Paralympics. Click for more details of the upcoming Para-Badminton World Championships.
The Anders Foundation is helping Harry with his riding activities this summer.
His Mum writes:
Thank you very much for the generous donation you have kindly sent for Harry's riding activities during the summer. He absolutely loves riding and I attach some photos of him on his pony Dinky, and with his older brother Freddie, during the last week when he was on half term. He copes so well even though he can't really hold the reins very well with his small hand - luckily he's brave! He wants to be a jockey!
Devon Racqueteers Parabadminton Club
The Anders Foundation is supporting the Club with equipment for the 2015 season.
Nikki Welch of Liskeard Junior and Inclusive Badminton Club has returned home victorious from the 4 Nations Para-Badminton Tournament held in Scotland. Nikki from Pensilva who has ADHD and a learning disability won a Gold Medal in the ladies doubles and a Silver Medal in the singles event. She also achieved 3rd place in the mixed doubles event. Nikki was supported by The Anders Foundation who provided her with £250 towards her expenses.
Nikki's aim now is to compete in the World Championships which have just been announced by Badminton England to be held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in September, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement situated in Buckinghamshire.
Liskeard Junior and Inclusive Badminton Club who are East Cornwall's only Premier Club are delighted for Nikki and aim do all they can to support her ambition to play at the World Championships. Her long term aim will be the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 where Badminton will feature for the first time.
The Anders Foundation recently helped Owen Kilburn purchase a new sports wheelchair.
Owen is a 24 year old Nottingham Trent University Student and has played wheelchair Badminton for 9 years and is now a player who represents England in Para-Badminton.
Spanish ParaBadminton International, Alcudia, Spain - March 2015
Match Day 1
I was placed into group D of the WH1 mens singles and I started the tournament off strong with a convincing 21 – 13, 21 – 7 win over Pascal Barrillon of France and I felt sharp and confident.
The next match saw me up against the number 4 seed from Russia, Pavel Popov. I knew this would be a tough game for me but managed to stay in the game and never went behind up to 16 all where it was at this point I disappointingly conceded 5 straight points to lose the game 16 – 21. I went ahead 11 – 9 at the interval of the second game to then only get another 3 points for the remainder and lose 14 – 21.
Despite losing I was able to advance past the group stage as runner-up of group D and into the last 16 where I faced India’s Prem Kule Ale. The first game was another close encounter up to the interval where again my opponent slipped away in the latter stages and they won 21 – 13. The second game was one of the most disappointing ones I had played all weekend. I turned up the intensity and found the form and sharpness I had from my very first match and had a commanding 18 – 12 lead and looked like I was sure to take the match to a 3rd game. Unfortunately my performance took a sudden drop and before I knew it I had lost the game 19 – 21. I was eliminated from the mens singles and I was gutted for letting a good opportunity slip away.
Match Day 2
The 2nd day was the start of the men’s doubles and was in group C seeded 3rd being teamed up with Ho Yuen Chan from Hong Kong.
With the disappointment of the evening before still fresh in my mind the first doubles match was an extremely shakey performance, especially coming up against Prem Kumar Ale again with his Indian team mate Suresh Kumar Karki. I managed to get revenge on Prem for my Singles as we won 21-16, 21-19.
Pascal Barrillon was then my opponent again teaming up with his French compatriot Sebastien Martin. My performance still wasn’t great but we took the first game 21-16. The second set I finally managed to regain my focus and relax and we won the second game with a comfortable score of 21-10.
The final game of group C we came up against the Russian Pair of Pavel Popov and Yuri Stepanov. Here I had another opportunity to get revenge on a player I had lost to the day before. We were ahead 16-11 in the first game. However, I had a repeat of my match with Prem Kumar Ale, letting a good lead slip again and losing 18-21. A wave of thoughts were running through my head. The second game was very close for the majority and the Russians continued to isolate me keeping the shuttle away from my partner. Then something just ‘clicked’. I suddenly relaxed again and we took the second game 21-16 and then cruised to a 21-10 win in the final game.
With all games won we topped group C and advanced to the quarter finals.
The last match of the day we played another French pair; Stephen Durand and Francois Nalborczyk. This saw my best performance throughout the whole day and we cruised to a 21-10, 21-11 victory booking a place in the semi-final the next day.
Match Day 3
In the men’s doubles semi-final I played fellow England team mates and 2nd seeds Martin Rooke and Connor Dua-Harper who were heavy favourites. This match proved to be another level up and although I felt I played well, they were just too good and defeated us easily 2-21, 10-21.
Overall despite there being a few disappointing performances I’m very happy to come away with my second medal in a BWF sanctioned International competition. I will learn and build from these experiences and aim to achieve more good results at the Irish International in June.
Owen writes: "I have just competed in the 4 Nations Para-Badminton Championships in Scotland where, despite not being 100% fit, I managed to reach the semi final in the wheelchair mens singles losing to the eventual winner and England team mate Connor Dua-Harper 5 - 21, 15 - 21.
In the mens doubles my partner withdrew from the tournament a couple days before due to illness, so unfortunately I didn't get to play mens doubles and we were certainly one of the favourites.
In the mixed doubles I teamed up with Fiona Christie of Scotland for the first time. We reached the final and though I was disappointed with my own personal performance, feeling exhausted and still unwell from illness, we grinded out a win to take Gold in the mixed doubles winning in 3 games 18-21, 21 - 14, 21-19 against fellow English pair Denny Vettom and Sharon Jones-Barnes.
The new chair has definitely helped my game a lot. It was just so unfortunate that I was ill and my fitness over the weekend was terrible because of it so I wasn't playing and using it to full capacity and intensity."
Congratulations to Owen from The Anders Foundation.
Owen writes: “In 2015 my first tournament will be the Scottish 4 Nations championships in Glasgow in February; followed by the Spanish International at the end of March. Other possible tournaments are the China International in May and the Irish International in June. And towards the end of this year the World Championships which are expected to be in England. I hope to build on what I have achieved last year and win more medals in International competition and my biggest goal is to play in the 2020 Paralympics."
He will be taking part in the England Para-Badminton squad training camp at Hatfield, Herts next week and in an exhibition at the Nottingham v Loughborough NBL match on the 26th of January.”
The Anders Foundation has realized that with the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 being only 5 years away, more disabled Badminton players need to be encouraged to participate.
We have thus set up a “Talent Spotting” scheme over the next 12 months to be run at the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club, SW19, for children between the ages of 8 and 18. This will be run by Lorraine Brydie and Carol Bilton, both Badminton England coaches, together with other BE coaches, some former Internationals.
Participants have been invited from all Surrey and South London Schools and Youth Clubs, the first session being 15th February. Young people within those age groups, with good hand-eye co-ordination, are welcome to contact the organizers (see top of first page – email@example.com) should they not have heard of the event through their school or other body. These sessions are free of charge and all equipment, including wheelchairs, is provided; only Badminton England qualified coaches will be available.
The event is underway and any young person between the ages of 8 and 18 is most welcome; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to participate.
The Anders Foundation thanks Cares 4 Kids for their great support of this initiative.
Para-Badminton Training Camps
The Anders Foundation will be sponsoring two Para-Badminton training camps this year; the first at Hatfield, Herts, on 25th January; second date to be confirmed. Coaches will be Gail Emms, Nick Ponting, Nathan Robertson and other Badminton England qualified coaches.
The Anders Foundation is sponsoring the first Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club (SW19), Para-Badminton Tournament on Saturday 14th March for Standing categories by providing £500 prize money.
For details, please contact: http://www.wimbledonclub.co.uk
Wimbledon U19 Tournament 2014
The Wimbledon Under 19 tournament 13-14 September held at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club, had participants from India, Portugal, Switzerland, Scotland and England.
The mens’ singles was won by Lakshya Sen, aged just 14 years; a possible future World Champion and member of the Prakash Academy in Bangalore, run by former All England Champion Prakash Padukone, and Vimal Kumar, former Indian No. 1, and former member of WR&FC, known to many during his playing years in Surrey
Events were won by:
- Men's Singles: Lakshya Sen (India)
- Ladies Singles: Ira Banerjee (Hants)
- Men's Doubles: Ben Lane (Devon) & Sean Vendy (Bucks)
- Ladies Doubles: Jessica Hopton (Avon) & Lydia Powell (Sussex)
- Mixed Doubles: Ben Lane (Devon) & Jessica Pugh (Yorkshire)
England Para Badminton Team
After helping to coach the England para badminton team The Anders Foundation is delighted to hear about the great success the team achieved at the recent European Championships.
You can read more about it
on the badminton England website by following this link: http://www.ebad.org.uk
The Anders Foundation sponsored a day out for Sam Krzystyniak and his friends at Thorpe Park.
Sam was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the Lymph glands, in January this year two days before his 15th birthday. He received four months of intensive chemotherapy treatment at the University of London Hospital near Euston which finished at the end of May. Sam’s scans in June showed he was in remission from the illness and he will now be closely monitored in the months and years to come.
I would just like to say thank you so much to The Anders Nielsen Foundation for paying for me and 3 friends to go to Thorpe Park for the day on Monday. We had an amazing time and went on all the rides without having to queue at all. My favourite ride is Samurai which made me feel really dizzy and sick but I love it anyway!
I love Thorpe park and really appreciate being able to go. It was especially nice to go with my friends from school who have all supported me over the past year and they had a fantastic time also. It was the perfect ending to our school holidays.
Many thanks again.
Sam's blog during his illness can be found at www.samkrz.co.uk
The Bedford & District Handicapped Riders Assn
2014 - The Anders Foundatation donated £1000 to the Bedford and District Handicapped Riders Association.
The Charity was formed over fifty years ago to use ponies as therapy to improve the co-ordination and health of handicapped children and adults. They maintain their own ponies and have their own purpose built indoor riding school in the village of Willington, Beds. Most of their riders come from specialist schools in Bedfordshire but also take adults from the Sue Ryder home and other people are referred to us by their GP's. Last year we had over 100 riders.
Every year we need to raise approximately £20,000 just to keep things ticking over and we do this by organising fetes, craft fayres, coffee mornings and musical evenings but in these times of austerity it gets harder and harder to raise this amount. We also apply for funding from charitable institutions and family trusts.
Our expenses are continually rising. For example in 2011 our horse expenses were £7734 but rose 15% in 2012 and will be higher again this year. We also need additional capital investment to maintain and improve our facilities. We do not have any administrative costs as all our helpers are volunteers apart from the lady who feeds and cares for the ponies.
2014 - The story so far
Thus far in 2014, the Anders Foundation has supported the following causes:
The Anders Foundation is sponsoring a pony "Bridget" (pictured) from April 2014 for one year. http://www.epsomrda.org.uk
We are supporting her in 2014, see Deb's blog for updates.
We are continuing to support the School, enabling them to play Badminton once a week at their school or at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club, organized by Disability Coach, Lorraine Brydie.
Wimbledon U19 Tournament 2013
The Wimbledon Under 19 tournament 14-15 September held at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club, had participants from Denmark, England and India.
All events were won by English players with the exception of the mens’ singles:
Men's Singles: Anders Antonsen (DEN)
Ladies Singles: Lydia Powell
Men's Doubles: Conor Bamrick & Mike Roe
Ladies Doubles: Viki Williams & Jenny Moore
Mixed Doubles: Marcus Smith & Jessica Hopton
Phab Club, Epsom, Surrey
Lorraine Brydie, Disability Badminton Coach at Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club (WRFC), delivered a para-badminton session at the Phab Club in Epsom, Surrey to a group of very enthusiastic youngsters. Phab stands for Physically disabled and able-bodied. The charity’s philosophy is to encourage the children to get together through having fun. Epsom Club runs a youth club for the youngsters on a Friday evening to encourage integration.
Lorraine wishes to say “thank you to the Anders Foundation, who kindly donated two sports wheelchairs to WRFC and also for providing funding to allow me to go out and promote wheelchair badminton to the wider community”.
The Anders Foundation is delighted to support Sarah Underwood by donating the ex-racehorse mare Fleur De Vassy so that she can train for/compete in Para-Equestrian competitions and maybe one day reach the Paralympics.
Complications during orthopaedic surgery several years ago resulted in over twenty five further surgeries and procedures, ongoing rehabilitation (which saved my lower leg from amputation) and my medical retirement from my job as a Senior Associate Clinical Psychologist within the NHS. Clearly this was life-changing, however always one to seek the positive and get on with things I began training with several Paralympic squads with a view to competing in the 2012 Paralympic games. Further surgery prevented this so I returned to my first love of horses and ponies and joined the Riding For The Disabled (RDA)! As well as being crucial to my rehabilitation I now have my sights firmly set upon attaining a place on the dressage team for the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio!
I recently represented Lancashire at the NW Regional competition and the North West at the RDA National Championships, borrowing horses at short notice for each event. Both were wonderful experiences and great fun. I have since joined the RDA volunteer database; have been elected to join the RDA Expert Panel; was invited to ride a para-dressage demonstration at Blenheim Palace Horse Trials and also at the NW Regional Conference, and have been invited to represent the RDA at the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference in London. All are fabulous opportunities and I am very honoured and privileged to have been invited to take part.
I am also training to be both a BHS and RDA Instructor in the hope that I can utilise my experiences and skills to help others to enjoy the benefits that RDA has afforded me. The RDA magnificently enables people to enjoy equestrianism without huge expense, and thereby benefit from the pleasures and therapeutic gains associated with equine contact.
Sadly I couldn’t ride at Blenheim due to the lack of a suitable horse but now, thanks to The Anders Foundation, I have a wonderful horse called Fleur De Vassy. Competing at the higher levels unfortunately requires sponsorship and a particular type of horse; as such I am so lucky to have Fleur so that I can achieve my dreams and one day ride for GB in the Paralympics. I am also proud that other disabled riders will be able to ride Fleur and enjoy some memorable days out in a non-competitive environment!
Jamie Jessup from the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club who was fortunate enough to have a Kidney Transplant 14 years ago - has just returned from Durban, South Africa where he represented GB in the World Transplant Games in July, 2013. Jamie brought home for Team GB the Badminton Singles Silver Medal in the 18-29 age category.
Jamie says, "It was such a fantastic experience to go to Durban to represent my country in Badminton; I am passionate about the game and wanted to do well. I was in serious training for over a year, ever since being selected back in 2012 after my performance at the British Transplant Games where I won Gold in the mens’ doubles.
In the lead up to the Worlds I was upping my game and having coaching from Sam Phillips & Dave Hutchinson. It certainly paid off when the day arrived for the competition in South Africa! In the singles I had a very tough draw and was up against players from France, GB, Iran, and in the final it was Iran again. In the semi's my energy had all been taken playing against the Iran player, but once I had beaten him I was thrilled knowing I had a chance of winning gold. The finals took place only 30 mins after my semi's: I managed to win the first game, (I think it was purely on Adrenaline) but I lost the 2nd & 3rd.
I can honestly say I am thrilled with a "World Silver Medal" & being ranked World Number 2 within the World Transplant Games Federation; this is something that will live with me forever! The second day of the Badminton I played mens’ doubles & mixed but, unfortunately, I couldn’t perform well as my legs were totally knackered, despite having an hour with our GB physio. It wasn't to be and we lost our doubles to the Thailand pair who were the eventual Gold Medallists.
The same happened in the mixed which was in the afternoon. By this time my legs had totally seized up and we were knocked out by a Bulgarian pair.
I am happy with my performance & can honestly say that being given that second chance in life has taught me something, and that is to enjoy every day as if it is my last & I certainly do do that. Especially in South Africa.
I would like to say thank you so much to everyone at the Anders Foundation who has taken their time to help me along this wonderful journey and made a dream become reality, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
But can I just ask one thing of you, please could you take a second or two, to sign up to the ORGAN DONATION REGISTER! As you too could help save someone's life, just like some one helped me!"
"Live Life Then Give Life!"
Jamie Jessop is continuing his great success, after winning silver at the World Transplant Games last month by winning Gold and the Trophy Shield in the Men's Doubles competition, at the British Championships, in Sheffield.
Deborah Criddle MBE is a British para-equestrian who won three Gold Medals at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and one Gold Medal and two Silver Medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
She lost the use of her right arm and right leg following a motorcycle accident in 1985, eventually having the arm amputated in 2003. As a result she competes in the Grade III Paralympic Classification.
Deb first competed at the Paralympics at the 2000 Games held in Sydney, Australia, where she finished eighth in the Individual Grade III event and fourth in the Freestyle Grade III. She won Individual, Freestyle and Team Gold Medals at both the 2001 European Championships and the 2003 World Championships. At the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, she won three Gold Medals. Riding the Nina Venables owned horse Figaro IX she won the Individual and Freestyle Grade III events and was a part of Great Britain's victorious squad in the Team Championship. This made her and Figaro the first horse and rider combination to have won triple gold at consecutive European, World and Paralympic Games. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China, she was selected to compete as an individual rider and she finished fifth in the Individual and fourth in the Freestyle.
She was selected as part of the dressage squad for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, United Kingdom. Riding LJT Akilles she won a silver medal in the Grade III Individual event with a score of 71.267%, finishing behind Germany's gold medalist Hannalore Brenner who scored 73.467%, despite having to ask the judges for directions. Criddle's result helped to secure a Gold Medal for the British squad, which also included Sophie Christiansen, Lee Pearson and Sophie Wells, in the Team Championship. She won her third medal of the 2012 Paralympics, a Silver, in the Freestyle Grade III.
Criddle was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to equestrianism.
After a hugely successful 2012, with the culmination of Team Gold and 2 Individual Silvers at the Paralympic Games, this year has been a real mixed bag. A bad start to the international competition season put LJT Akilles and I on our back feet.
Even winning the National Championship in my disability grade wasn’t enough to secure us a place on the European Championship squad this summer. We did however manage to qualify for a Disabled Rider class at the British Dressage National Championships along with a surprise qualification in an ‘able bodied’ open class. Equestrian is one of the few sports that is fully integrated, not only mixed gender but also disabled riders competing in the same classes as able bodied riders.
The qualification classes for our Winter Championships are well underway with our first test giving us maximum points.
I am hugely grateful to The Anders Foundation for awarding me a training grant which I intend to use to further improve my riding technique, which in turn will improve my communication with my horse. I will keep you posted...
Back on track! LJT Akilles and I had a great result at the National Championships with a win in the KBIS Disabled Rider Championship and our best performance yet in a Para class. All the hard work at home paid dividends with a smooth and harmonious test on the day.
We perform set floor plans for each disability grade and in very basic terms, for those with no knowledge of dressage, they are designed to test our ability to control the horse in various paces and our accuracy in carrying out particular movements. The tests take 5 minutes on average to perform and the horse needs warming up for anything between 30-60 minutes beforehand. Completing the second of our tests in the able-bodied Advanced Medium class was a highlight for me. We had absolutely no chance of coming anywhere other than near the bottom of the class just because of the quality of horses and the professional nature of many of the riders, but I had such fun. My goal had been not to be last and we managed to come 27th out of 32. It has definitely wetted my appetite for another chance so we shall have to get out now to try to qualify for the Winter Championships.
My New Year resolution is to be fitter this year and develop more core strength. I have made a start with short sessions on the cross-trainer which I will gradually build up in length as my unstable right knee becomes accustomed to the added stress and strain. Having said that, it seems to be the good one that is protesting more at the moment! I shall also book a place on a Pilates course or even arrange some private sessions so that I can specifically cover exercises best suited to riders. At Christmas I treated myself to a book called ‘Pilates for Riders’ and it has provided me with a real source of motivation. I have also now found three possible venues and trainers for my intensive lunge sessions but as they all teach outside I will wait for some better weather before booking.
A few days before Christmas Akilles and I were out competing in Cornwall and whilst he was a bit fresh and feisty we had a good result with a win in the Advanced Medium Freestyle. This qualified us for a second class at the British Dressage SW Regional Winter Championship to be held in February, a good end to 2013.
I sat down and made my 2014 Competition Plan; short, medium and long term goals are vital to a successful training regime and while the plan may need tweaking over the year it makes a good solid starting point. It means I can see where I need to have Akilles at peak fitness and where I can afford to ‘let him down’ a little as it is tough on a horse to push them hard throughout the season, dressage taxes the horse both physically and mentally. The overall long term goal is obviously Rio in 2016, the European Championships 2015 are the medium term goal with the short term one being the World Equestrian Games in France this summer. My goals for this year are to acquit myself well in open able-bodied classes, to be top Grade III Para rider in national competitions and make it on to the World Championship team. Hopefully I’m not being too greedy!
The Oak Lodge School for the Deaf, Balham
£1000 funding to Oak Lodge Deaf School to play badminton once a week;
£1500 guaranteed to the Oak Lodge Deaf School enabling them to playing Badminton during the School year Sept 2013 – July 2014
These children are profoundly deaf, some with other disabilities. Lorraine Brydie coaches the younger pupils at the school once a week and the older group at the Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club on Wednesday mornings.
The players introduced themselves to the pupils and shared a tiny piece of their success story thus far. Afterwards Lorraine ran a competition for the pupils where Xander and Rajeev helped score and provided some extra encouragement and coaching. The players kindly donated T'shirts that were presented to the winners along with certificates for everyone from the Club. Xander also brought along photos and Rajeev passed around his, much treasured, Singles World Gold medal. Rajeev is deaf himself and has played in the All England a number of times, when he represented India as a professional player and now competes very successfully for England in World Masters Events.
Lorraine (left) has been working with the younger pupils at the school and latterly with the Yr 9/10 pupils at the Club. The whole experience has been a learning curve for everyone involved. Lorraine said that she is now much more aware of the communication challenges deaf people face in, what is essentially, a hearing world.
We very much look forward to continuing working with the school after the summer.