Defending champion Sir Lee Pearson headlines GB’s paralympic equestrian squad

247 News Around The World
247 News Around The World

Defending Paralympic champions Sir Lee Pearson, Sophie Christiansen, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells have been named as Great Britain’s equestrian squad for Tokyo 2020.

The four riders, who are each multiple gold medallists, will be competing on horses making first Games appearances.

Grade two rider Pearson is an 11-time gold winner and will ride Breezer at his sixth Paralympics.

Christiansen, who has eight golds and competes in the grade one classification, is paired with Innuendo III and will make her first championship appearance since Rio 2016.

Five-time gold medallist Baker will be partnered by Keystone Dawn Chorus at grade three, while grade five rider Wells – holder of six golds – will ride C Fatal Attraction .

Para equestrian team leader Georgina Sharples said in a statement: “The four selected athletes are seasoned campaigners and have drawn on their wealth of experience to ensure that they and their new equine partners are ready to perform in Tokyo.

“ParalympicsGB has a stellar record in para equestrian, but we can’t afford to be complacent – other nations have been making great strides since Rio and will be breathing down our necks in Tokyo.

“Medals won’t be easy, but we’re determined to push towards the podium.”

Britain topped the medal table at Rio 2016, winning seven golds and four silvers.

All four combinations will compete for individual honours this summer, with three also set to contest the team competition. A decision on that line-up will be made on arrival in Japan.

Christiansen, 33, said: “The Paralympic movement changed my life when I went to Athens 2004 when I was just 16 years old. I hope Tokyo 2020 will inspire others in the same way and put disability awareness at the forefront of people’s minds again.”

Sophie Christiansen has won eight Paralympic gold medals
Sophie Christiansen has won eight Paralympic gold medals (Adam Davy/PA)

Baker, 31, said: “It’s a massive honour to be representing my country again, especially given everything we’ve been through in the last year-and-a-half.

“To have this feels like such a celebration and it shows that hard work pays off. We can’t wait to get out there and do our best.”

Liz Walsh and Jade Lockwood will act as travelling grooms.

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