Paralympic Triple Gold Champion Sophie Christiansen Meets Inspired Children at David Lloyd Maidenhead

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Youngsters at David Lloyd Maidenhead were overjoyed to meet their Paralympics heroine - triple gold medal winner Sophie Christiansen - at the club yesterday (Sunday, October 21).

Sophie Christiansen at David Lloyd Maidenhead
It was truly wonderful to see so many children at David Lloyd Maidenhead who wanted to meet me, and I was touched by their genuine excitement.

Equestrian Sophie, who is a member at the club in Grenfell Place, won her impressive haul in the individual, team and freestyle dressage events for Paralympics GB, and delighted youngsters by bringing along her medals for all to see and touch.

“Everyone has been speaking about how the London 2012 Paralympics were the biggest and best in history and how they have inspired a whole nation and the next generation of sports participants,” said Sophie. “It was truly wonderful to see so many children at David Lloyd Maidenhead who wanted to meet me, and I was touched by their genuine excitement."

“It’s fantastic that so many children now have an increased awareness of the Paralympics and understand that there are no barriers to doing sport and achieving your dreams!”

One of the UK’s most successful Paralympians, Sophie, who has cerebral palsy and has competed in three successive Games, added: “Outsiders would say my biggest challenge was my disability but, to me, having disability is ‘normal’. Certain things may pose more of a challenge, but there are ways of working around it. I wouldn’t have had a chance to compete in the Paralympics without my disability and it has made me who I am.”

Sophie - who was one of 36 David Lloyd athletes selected for Team GB and Paralympics GB, with almost a third winning a medal - used the facilities at David Lloyd Maidenhead in the run-up to the Games for core exercise and cardiovascular training.

“I would like to thank David Lloyd Maidenhead for their continued support. I believe to get the best out of my horse, I have to be as fit as I can be and the facilities at the club have supplemented the strength and conditioning work I do with the English Institute of Sport.”

General manager at David Lloyd Maidenhead, Neil Austin, said: “There has been a real buzz in the club since the Games and Sophie is a true sporting hero to so many people. We are very proud to have her as our member and were absolutely delighted that she visited the club with her gold medals to show the children, who have been inspired by the Paralympics and really look up to their very own champion athlete – they will never forget such a special day."

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