As part of International Women’s Day celebration, leading disability charity Path to Success has announced the launch of a new campaign to support talented British women in disability sport. The charity will provide sponsorship for women competing in four major disability sports; Para-Equestrian Dressage, Para Powerlifting, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Tennis. The Path to Tokyo will provide financial support for women in disability sport who need funding to pursue their dream of competing for a medal at the Paralympic Games.
The first athletes to benefit from the scheme are Para-Powerlifter Louise Sugden, 33, and London Titans Wheelchair Basketball player Sophie Patterson, 19. Both will receive funding towards coaching, training, travel costs, and specialised sports wheelchairs as they pursue their goal of representing Team GB in 2020.
Louise Sugden has already participated at international level, she has won five European Championship bronze medals and represented UK at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and London 2012 as part of the GB Wheelchair Basketball side. She has recently changed discipline to move into Para-Powerlifting, and represented Great Britain at the World Championships in Mexico.
Sophie Patterson said: “The sponsorship is a life-changing chance which will give me the opportunity to take my game to the next level.”
Despite the success of London 2012 Paralympics in raising the profile of disability sport in the UK and team GB’s second-placed finish in Rio 2016, many para athletes remain seriously underfunded, meaning they are forced to give up on their dreams if they cannot generate their own funding. Anita Choudhrie, founder of Path to Success, said: “In the years that Path to Success has supported athletes with disability, I have always been inspired by the skill, determination and positive attitude taken by those who we support. Our mission is to secure the legacy of disability sport in the UK, and to inspire a new generation of British female Paralympic stars. If we can change the world of one person, then this campaign will be a success”