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British Paralympic Association and Hogan Lovells UK

Hogan Lovells is proud to be a Gold Partner of, and Official Legal Services Provider to, the British Paralympic Association.

Following a successful inaugural year, our cohort of 2019 Hogan Lovells GB Para-athlete bursary recipients have been announced. The bursaries will support each individual's preparations in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Ten Paralympians and aspiring Paralympians as recognised by the BPA and their national governing body, who are actively competing in national and international competitions, will receive one-off bursaries to help with an aspect of their career development.

Each of our ten recipients have an amazing story to share:

Name:  Richard Chiassaro

Sport:  Para Athletics (Wheelchair Racing)

Top 3 accolades: 

1) Breaking the 1 min 31 seconds for the 800m

2) 400m bronze medal in London 2017

3) I am one of only two athletes to go under 45 seconds in the 400m my time 44:39

Your proudest moment in sport: Winning a bronze medal in front of the home crowd at the London 2017 World Championships with my family all there.

Favourite/iconic moment in sporting History: When Liverpool FC came Back from 3.0 down at half time against AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League.

Your most inspiring sporting hero/figure: I have many sporting heroes, but if I was to pick one, it would be Steven Gerrard because of his passion and leadership when playing.

How you used your Hogan Lovells bursary: This year having been awarded a bursary I was able to make some major changes to my racing chair which helped me win the bronze medal at the world championships. 

One piece of advice to help people maintain their wellbeing: My advice for wellbeing is to have a routine and set your self a goal. Work towards something and always make sure you set hard goals for yourself as the satisfaction when your achieve it is indescribable.

Where do we follow your progress: If you want to continue to follow my progress then please use my Twitter @Richchiassaro and Instagram @richardchiassaro

Name: Jade Jones-Hall

Sport: ParaTriathlon

Length of career: Athletics since 2008, and Paratriathlon since 2016

Top 3 accolades:

1) Commonwealth Games 2018 paratriathlon gold

2) Triathlon World Championships 2017 silver

3) Triathlon European Champion 2017

How you got into your sport: I met Tanni Grey-Thompson and Ian Thompson at a sports day when I was 12 years old, they introduced me to wheelchair racing and I started competing on the track from there. I went on to compete on the track at London 2012 Paralympics and Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Your proudest moment in sport: Winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Seeing Jessica Ennis win gold at London 2012 Olympics.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Someone I've always looked up to in sport is Tanni Grey-Thompson and I'm lucky to have been able to work with both her and her husband Ian since I started my sporting career.

Name: David Smith MBE

Sport: Boccia

Length of career: 13 Years (Internationally); 22 Years in Total

Top 3 accolades:

1) Joint most successful British Player

2) Two-time Paralympic champion

3) Medalled at all-but-one ranking tournament since 2005

How you got into your sport: I first played Boccia aged six at Cedar School when the school competed at National junior games in Stoke Mandeville. I never won a game but moving to Treloar School, becoming more competitive, changed everything.

Your proudest moment in sport: Receiving an MBE from Prince William for services to Boccia in front of my parents.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Leicester City's title-winning season.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Ronnie O'Sullivan/Douglas Bader

Name: Tania Nadarajah

Sport: Para Archery

Length of career: Five Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) 5th place, mixed team at the 2016 Paralympic Games

2) Gold medal, individual at the 2017 World Ranking Event in Puerto Rico

3) Bronze medal, women’s recurve team at the 2016 European Championships

How you got into your sport: I was looking for an activity that would get me out and meeting new people after injury. Little did I realise it would become my career!

Your proudest moment in sport: Competing for ParalympicsGB at the 2016 Paralympic Games. I had only taken up the sport two years earlier and had set myself the goal of going to Rio, so to achieve that in such a short space of time is something I am very proud of.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Goran Ivanisevic’s Wimbledon win in 2001. I have clear memories of watching this dramatic match at the time and it became more meaningful for me after my own “wildcard” moment in my sport years later.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Roger Federer, for his remarkable mental toughness and cool, calm and collected style.

How you used your Hogan Lovells bursary: Thanks to the Hogan Lovells bursary, I was able to replace a set of limbs on my bow which had cracked earlier in the year with a new set of better quality limbs. I was also able to purchase a new set of arrows for use in competitions to replace an older set which were a few years old.

One piece of advice to help people maintain their wellbeing: The importance of life balance cannot be understated. It is easy to get totally wrapped up in something you are passionate about but maintaining some balance gives you a healthy sense of perspective that can contribute to overall wellbeing.

Where do we follow your progress: 

www.facebook.com/archerytania

Name: Callum Hall

Sport: Para Athletics (Wheelchair Racing)

Length of career: Four Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) 7th place 2018 Commonwealth Games marathon

2) 6th place 2018 Para-athletics European Championships T53 400m

3) 7th place 2018 Dubai marathon

How you got into your sport: I became paralysed in 2012 after an infection due to stepping on a sea urchin. While I was a patient on a spinal rehabilitation unit my brother encouraged me to go to Leeds athletic club and try out wheelchair racing. I tried it in 2013 using a second-hand racing chair, bought my first racing chair in 2014, and have been training ever since. I met my wife Jade Jones-hall at a 10k race, she beat me by 10 minutes and ever since has not let me forget it! We train together every day which helps to push you in training (through fear that if I don't she may beat me again).

Your proudest moment in sport: Representing England for the first time at the Commonwealth Games.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Johnny Wilkinson 2003 Rugby World Cup final drop goal.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Andy Murray

Name: Thomas Matthews

Sport: Para Table Tennis

Length of career: 5/6 Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) European Team Champion 2015 / European Singles Silver 2017

2) World Championships team bronze 2017/ World championships Singles Bronze 2018

3) Italian Open Gold Singles medallist 

How you got into your sport: In hospital a man called Jim Munkley from Disability Sports Wales introduced me to Table Tennis.

Your proudest moment in sport: During the World’s Bronze Singles medal match I was 2-0 down and managed to fight back to win.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Wales Vs Scotland in the RBS six nations 2010.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Shane Williams (Former Welsh Rugby Player)

Name: Helen Freeman

Sport: Wheelchair Basketball

Length of career: 13 Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) World Silver medal 2018 World Championships

2) All-Tournament team 2018 World Championships

3) 4th Rio Paralympic Games

How you got into your sport: I was invited by the coach of my local team while I was buying a regular wheelchair.

Your proudest moment in sport: Winning the GB Women's team's first ever world medal.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Usain Bolt in Beijing 2008 because he set new bars for his sport and captured the world's imagination.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: My sister because she played rugby to a high level and really inspired me to reach for my own dreams by following her example.

Name: Lucy Shuker

Sport: Wheelchair Tennis

Length of career: 15 Years (started competing in 2003)

Top 3 accolades:

1) Paralympic Bronze Medallist - Women’s Doubles 2012 & 2016

2) Highest World Ranking, World No.5 (Singles) World No.3 (Doubles)

3) World Doubles Champion 2016

How you got into your sport: I started playing wheelchair tennis in 2002 following a motorbike accident the previous year which resulted in a spinal injury (T4 Paraplegic). I was introduced to the sport by former Quad Wheelchair Tennis World No.1 Pete Norfolk while buying my first wheelchair. We got chatting about how I had previously been a talented badminton player and he suggested I try wheelchair tennis and the rest is history. 

Your proudest moment in sport: My proudest moment is most definitely winning the Bronze Medal at the London 2012 Paralympics. Coming from two match points down to secure the medal in front of a packed-out home crowd was just an incredible feeling. 

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: As a tennis player it has to be seeing Andy Murray win his first Wimbledon in 2013, the pressure that he was under is insane and he is such an incredible athlete. 

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: There are so many sport stars that I have such an enormous respect for. The hard work and determination it takes to achieve something special in any sport is truly something to be admired. I think for me as a female tennis player, Billie Jean King is extremely empowering, not just for her achievements as an athlete, but perhaps even more so for her unwavering determination to bring about change and inspire others.

How you used your Hogan Lovells bursary:In my application for the 2019 bursary I had said that I wanted to invest in a new tennis wheelchair in 2019. Following the award of the Hogan Lovells bursary I was able to move forward with this and as RGK kindly offered a 50% discount I was able to put the bursary towards the remaining costs.

The investment in a new tennis chair has had significant impacts on my performance on court. I’ve hit personal bests in fitness tests and seen my movement on court improve. This has been particularly evident in my doubles results throughout the year, finishing Doubles Masters as a finalist and finishing the year as the World No.4 ranked doubles player, my highest doubles ranking since 2013.

One piece of advice to help people maintain their wellbeing: 2019 has been a significant year once more in my career. I’ve had a mix of results on the singles court and have at times really struggled mentally. I found myself striving towards goals where I felt as though one step forward was followed by two steps backwards. I started to see bad results as a negative refection of myself.

Sport can be a lonely place when you constantly compare your achievements to others and put yourself down. I feel incredibly lucky to have a close group of people in my life who encouraged me to open up. This helped me to recognise my own achievements, to see the positives and accept progress in all its different forms.

I think it’s important for athletes to open up about their struggles. We so proudly flaunt accomplishments, wins, trophies and titles, but behind every winner is often someone working just as hard who didn’t quite make it. Sport at the highest level can be made up of the smallest and cruellest margins. Mentally that can be incredibly tough to deal with.

My one piece of advice to anyone to maintain their wellbeing would be to invest time in those closest to them, keep a conversation going about your feelings. Share your story, whether it be about success, struggles or failures and remember you’re not alone and sharing your story may in turn help someone else.

Where do we follow your progress:

Website: LucyShuker.com

Instagram: @lucy_shuker (Preferred social channel)

Twitter: @lucy_shuker

Facebook: /lucyshukertennis

Name: Jamie Stead

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Length of career: Five Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) 2x European champion (2015 and 2017)

2) MVP of 2017 Quad Nations

3) 2017 league Champion

How you got into your sport: My love of sport started from a young age mainly due to my love of football and Manchester United. I dreamed of being a professional footballer but obviously with my disability this was never going to happen so I started to look into other sports that I could participate in. That is when I found wheelchair basketball which I played for eight years, I was then scouted by GB Wheelchair Rugby and have been competing ever since.

Your proudest moment in sport: Representing ParalympicsGB at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Manchester United 1999 treble winning season.

How you used your Hogan Lovells bursary: The Hogan Lovells Bursary has been a massive help in assisting me with my travel costs enabling me to do extra training, also helping we with equipment costs for things like training and competition gloves, glue and training kit.

One piece of advice to help people maintain their wellbeing: It's important to talk about mental health and problems, don't bottle up your feelings, talk to somebody, even the biggest and best of us struggle, don't be afraid to open up it helps. I find setting myself small realistic goals also helps because when you complete them you feel like you are making progress and achieving something.

Where do we follow your progress:

Twitter: @Jamie_Jay_Stead

Name: Jonathan Broom-Edwards

Sport: Para Athletics (High Jump)

Length of career: Seven Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) Paralympic Silver Rio 2016

2) World Championships Silver London 2017

3) World Championships Silver Doha 2015

How you got into your sport: Migrated from basketball, spotted by a therapist during an athletics year in 2010 while competing in high jump for Loughborough Athletics Club.

Your proudest moment in sport: Increasing personal best twice in one competition and temporarily breaking and holding the T44 high jump world record in Swansea 2014.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Jonathan Edwards Triple jump in 1995 (also because he has a great name!)

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Robbie Grabarz. Being able to train alongside him was a privilege and continues to inspire me throughout my athletic career.

How you used your Hogan Lovells bursary: The bursary assisted me in booking a warm weather camp to prepare for the heat of Dubai. It helped cover the costs of transport, accommodation and track & gym fees for my trip to Florida. I had an amazing camp and developed so much in the 2 weeks I was away. It certainly contributed to winning the Gold medal this year!

One piece of advice to help people maintain their wellbeing: In terms of maintaining mental wellbeing, I feel in a good place to share some advice. Throughout my career I have faced many challenges, from experiencing problems at home, to changing coaching set up, to rupturing my achilles and returning from injury. The things that have helped me, aside from the love and support of friends & family and being open with them on my struggles, heavily include noticing distractions. Our minds have a tendency to create problems or scenarios that run riot in our mind, or take us back to past issues we have faced. To get into a practice of noticing the thoughts and movements of the mind, and bring the attention to the thing you are doing at the moment in time, is a huge stepping stone at maintaining mental wellbeing.

Where do we follow your progress:

You can follow my progress on my twitter and instagram accounts @broomedwardst44 as well as through the SeenitCapture app.

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