British Paralympic Association and Hogan Lovells UK

Nicholas Cheffings Para Athlete Bursary 2022

Our 2022 Nicholas Cheffings Para athlete bursary is supporting ten para athletes throughout this year.

Following an incredibly successful year for ParallympicsGB at Tokyo 2020, we are excited to announce our 2022 Nicholas Cheffings Para athlete bursary is supporting ten para athletes throughout this year.

The 2022 bursary will provide financial support to para athletes who will hopefully be participating in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games or have aspirations of being selected for the Paris 2024 Paralympics Games.

The bursary is intended to help athletes with any aspect of their sporting development, including additional coaching, transportation to training camps and competitions, nutrition and equipment.

Each of our ten recipients have an amazing story to share. Find out more about them, their career and their sporting triumphs here:

Name: Columba Blango

Sport: Athletics

Length of career: 13 years

Top 3 accolades:

1) Olympic Para Bronze Medalist Tokyo Japan

2) Para European Champion Poland Bydgoszcz

3) European T20 400m record holder

How you got into your sport: I had joined the Athletics Club South London Harriers based to begin my career as a athlete but my first sport was tennis which I had played for 4 years prior.

Your proudest moment in sport: Simply participating in the sport is enough for me.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: I do not have one particularly but rather enjoying my athletic journey.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Myself because then you can inspire others to follow their personal goals.

Name:  Shona Brownlee MBE

Sport: Para Alpine skiing

Length of career: This is my 3rd season

Top 3 accolades:

1) 2 x bronze medals at World Cup competition

2) Selection to the GB World Class Para alpine Squad

3) Named RAF Sportswoman of the Year 2020/21

How you got into your sport: I got into skiing completely by chance. I'd never skied before my injury but whilst undergoing rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, I was offered the opportunity to take part in the Battle Back programme (an MoD/Help for Heroes funded initiative providing sporting and adventurous training opportunities to wounded injured and sick personnel) learning to sitski in Bavaria. The idea of ski racing had never even occurred to me at that point. I just saw it as a chance to have a bit of a break from intensive rehab and try something different - I could never have imagined where that 10-day introduction would lead!

Your proudest moment in sport: I think I have 2 - winning 2 bronze medals in my first World Cup races and also completing my first para-triathlon 1 year post-amputation.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: When Jonny Brownlee helped his brother Alistair over the line in the Triathlon World Series in 2016. Jonny gave up his chance to win the race to stop and help his brother, even pushing him over the line so Alistair finished before him. Moments like thst capture the essence of sportsmanship.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Dame Sarah Storey. She is the most decorated Paralympic Athlete in British sporting history, having won numerous medals in 2 Paralympic sports over 29 years and is still going strong!

Name:  Krysten Coombs

Sport: Para Badminton

Length of career: 14 years

Top 3 accolades:

1) Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Bronze Medal

2) European Champion Men’s Singles and Men’s Double’s 2016

3) World Silver Medal Men’s Singles 2017

How you got into your sport: I got into my sport through the Dwarf Sports Association (DSA), after which I took part in para badminton at the DSA National Games in 2005 in Birmingham. I then went on to play my first international competition in 2008 at the European Championships in Germany.

Your proudest moment in sport: My proudest moment in sport is definitely being selected to represent GB at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and going on to make history by competing in the first ever games for Para Badminton. To top it off, I came home with a bronze medal.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: My favorite sporting moment in history must be the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I loved seeing such an amazing and inspiring Paralympics games that changed the perception of the Paralympics forever.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Cristiano Ronaldo because he excels at his sport and has achieved so much after starting with so little.

Name: Fin Graham

Sport: Cycling – Road and Velodrome

Length of career: 3 Years

Top 3 accolades:

1) Double Silver medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

2) World Championship Bronze medal

3) World Cup Winner

How you got into your sport: I have been cycling for as long as I can remember! It originally started with mountain bikes as I grew up in the Borders of Scotland near the trail centre Glentress. I would go along with my Parents even before I could ride and be watching them both ride whilst the other took care of me and my brother, but as I began to get older I then started riding as well and it makes it so much more fun when the rest of your family do it as well! From that point on I was hooked and have been riding ever since. I did my first MTB race when I was about 7 which I loved, I was never winning ant of the races I just loved being there and getting involved. It wasn't until 2016 that I thought Para-Cycling was a path I was able to go down having grown up racing against able bodied riders but that was when I joined the British Cycling Para foundation programme.

Your proudest moment in sport: My Proudest moment in sport would definitely have to be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and coming away having been a World Record holder and also 2 Silver medals!!

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Although I am Scottish and I was very young at the time I have to say it was the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final with Johnny Wilkinson getting the drop goal in the last seconds of the game!

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: I would have to go with Mark Cavendish as I grew up watching him race on the TV and the amount he has won is phenomenal!

Name:  Millie Knight

Sport:  Para Alpine Skiing

Length of career: I joined the GB development squad in 2011 and I am (hopefully) about to go to my 3rd Paralympic Games in 2022.

Top 3 accolades: 

1) Downhill and SuperG Paralympic silver medals at PyeongChang 2018

2) Downhill World Champion 2017

3) Slalom Paralympic bronze Medal in 2018

How you got into your sport: I got into skiing through family ski holidays and my competitive nature.

Your proudest moment in sport: Coming back from a severe concussion, to win my first Paralympic medal in 2018.

Favourite/iconic moment in sporting History: Watching Kelly Gallagher win GB’s first Paralympic Gold medal in alpine skiing, in Sochi 2014.

Your most inspiring sporting hero/figure: Pete Reed 3x Olympic Medalist in Rowing. His story is incredible and very inspiring.

Name: Maddie Martin

Sport: Wheelchair Basketball

Length of career: 4½ years

Top 3 accolades:

1) Winning British Wheelchair Basketball’s “Female Player of the Year 2019/2020” award

2) In 2018 at the age of just 14, winning a Gold Medal representing the GB U24 Women’s squad at the IWBF U24 European Championships in Bordeaux

3) Winning 2 consecutive Gold medals (2017 & 2018) with the South East Regional U15’s squad at the UK National Finals

How you got into your sport: In 2012 Maddie took a very determined stance to take up the sport of wheelchair basketball having watched the GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team play at the 2012 London Paralympics. The experience inspired a passion and ‘dream’ within her, not only to take up the sport, but to one day play at the Paralympics herself. Unfortunately it took nearly 4 years for her to find somewhere to start out. Her lucky break came in 2016 in the form of a local inclusion charity who held ‘fun for all’ sessions every Wednesday and had the facilities and equipment to allow Maddie to try the sport out, which she did, and that’s where her personal journey and ‘dream’ started.

Your proudest moment in sport: At 14 years old, representing, competing and winning an IWBF European Championships gold medal for my country at GB U24 level.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: The 2012 Paralympic Games in London, particularly given the inspiration, passion and desire that was the defining legacy of this sporting event. The positive effect this legacy had on myself gave me the desire, confidence and self belief to take up the sport of wheelchair basketball.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Lando Norris – McLaren Formula 1 driver

Name: Neil Simpson

Sport: Para-alpine Skiing

Length of career: 5 seasons

Top 3 accolades:

1) BBC Young Sports Personality final 3 in 2020

2) 5× World Cup race winner

How you got into your sport: I Started off on family skiing holidays, then began training in Scotland and Europe. I Started in Para Alpine skiing in 2017.

Your proudest moment in sport: First World Cup podium in 2020

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: Super Saturday at the 2012 Olympics

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Ted Ligety

Name: Alex Slegg

Sport: Para Alpine Skiing

Length of career: 2018

Top 3 accolades:

1) National Team selection for the 21/22 Season.

2) Selection for the 2022 World Para Snow Sport Championships, Lillehamme

3) X2 Gold Medals Czech National Championships, Super G.

How you got into your sport: I was injured whilst serving in the British Army. During my Rehabilitation at DMRC Headley Court I learnt to sit ski through the Battle Back Programme for wounded soldiers in 2016. I then joined the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST) in 2017 who taught me to race.

Your proudest moment in sport: Being selected for the GB National Team was my proudest moment so far. It’s great to have years of hard work and sacrifices validated and recognised.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: I am not even a real football fan but Leicester City overcoming 5000/1 odds in 2015/16 to win the premier league is the single greatest sporting season ever. The ultimate underdog story.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Michael Jordan will always be the greatest leader and athlete for me in the way he lead the Chicago Bulls Franchise to be the greatest ever with so many iconic wins. But my favourite and most iconic sports hero is Ayrton Senna. His do or die racing style, technical knowledge and exceptional skill made him an inspiring man to millions around the world.

Name: Jack Smith

Sport: Wheelchair rugby

Length of career: 2 years. International debut was Quad Nations at Leicester arena in 2020.

Top 3 accolades:

1) Winning gold at Tokyo Paralympics

2) 1st place Quad Nations 2021

3) 2nd place Quad Nations 2020

How you got into your sport: I first got into wheelchair rugby while rehabbing at James Cook spinal injuries unit in 2008 following an accident playing rugby union which left me paralysed. There was a guy called Shaun Lacey who used to come in and chat to patients about life after a spinal cord injury, he’d set up the local wheelchair rugby club and knew of my rugby background so invited me down to a session, I agreed to go and instantly fell in love the sport. The social aspect of being in a team, the competition and obviously the contact side of the sport were what really got me!

Your proudest moment in sport: without doubt winning the gold in Tokyo, not just because of what it meant to me personally but also hearing how it’s inspired and motivated other people to go and do things themselves

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: There are so many to choose from but there are 2 that stand out for me, one is England winning the rugby World Cup in 2003 and the other is the 2012 Ryder Cup ‘The Miracle I’m Medinah’.

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Jonny Wilkinson. His work ethic and attention to detail was just incredible

Name:  Emma Wiggs

Sport: Paracanoe

Length of career: 11 years... and counting! (Since 2015)

Top 3 accolades:

1) Paralympic Champion VL2 & Silver Medalist (KL2) Tokyo 2020

2) Paralympic Champion Rio 2016 KL2

3) 9 Times World Champion in VL2 & KL2

How you got into your sport: I attended a BPA Talent Day pre London 2012 and was selected for the Sitting Volleyball Team. Post London I transferred to Paracanoe and since then have been full time training 6 days a week 49 weeks of the year to become 9 times World Champion and Double Paralympic Gold Medalist.

Your proudest moment in sport: Winning two medals in two different boats at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games becoming the first and only female to win two medals at the same Paralympic Games in Paracanoe.

Favourite / iconic moment in sporting History: South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup 1995

Your most inspiring sporting hero / figure: Steve Redgrave for winning 5 Golds in 5 consecutive games, is a truly jaw dropping achievement!




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