Laurentia Tan

Last updated
Laurentia Tan
LaurentiaTan-portrait-20080920.jpg
Tan at a Paralympics celebration ceremony at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on 20 September 2008
Personal information
Full nameLaurentia Tan Yen Yi
Nationality Singaporean
Born (1979-04-24) 24 April 1979 (age 39)
Singapore
Sport
CountryFlag of Singapore.svg  Singapore
Sport Equestrianism
Event(s) Dressage
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals

Laurentia Tan Yen Yi BBM PBM ( /lɒˈrɛnʃə/ lo-REN-shə; Chinese :陈雁仪; pinyin :Chén Yànyí, pronounced [tʂə̌n jɛ̂n í] ; born 24 April 1979), is a United Kingdom-based Singaporean para-equestrian competitor. Tan developed cerebral palsy and profound deafness after birth, and moved to the United Kingdom with her parents at the age of three. She took up horse riding at age of five years as a form of physiotherapy. She subsequently completed her A-levels at the Mary Hare Grammar School, a residential special school for the deaf, and graduated with an honours degree from Oxford Brookes University in hospitality management and tourism.

The Bintang Bakti Masyarakat, instituted in 1963, is awarded to any person who has rendered valuable public service to the people of Singapore, or who has distinguished themselves in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement. Bars may be issued for further service.

The Pingat Bakti Masyarakat is a Singaporean national honour. It was instituted in 1973. The medal may be awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore or for his/her achievement in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Contents

In March 2007, the Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore (RDA) invited Tan to join the Singapore team for the World Para Dressage Championships at Hartpury College in Hartpury, Gloucester, in England in July that year. At this event, her first international competition, she did well enough to qualify for the 2008 Paralympic Games. In September 2008, at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Centre at Sha Tin, she achieved bronze medals in the Individual Championship and Individual Freestyle Tests (class Ia). These were Singapore's first Paralympic medals and Asia's first equestrian medals at the Paralympic Games. Tan was conferred the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) by the President of Singapore at a ceremony at the Istana Singapore on 20 September 2008.

Hartpury human settlement in United Kingdom

Hartpury is a civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It has an area of about 3,500 acres (1,400 ha), about 270 homes and a population of about 700 people, increasing dramatically to 1,642 at the 2011 census The village is about 5 miles (8 km) north of Gloucester. Geographically the parish is in Leadon Vale; administratively it is in the Forest of Dean. Hartpury also presents beautiful walks and strolls through the countryside. It has all the usual facilities; Post Office, a school, church and a vets. Hartpury College is based in the village. The village contains several interesting buildings including the former home of the Canning family, Hartpury House, now part of the college. Hill House, also known as The Hill, is a large timber framed house which contains a very fine 16th Century oak staircase and several plaster ceilings of the same period.

Gloucester City and Non-metropolitan district in England

Gloucester is a city and district in Gloucestershire, in the South West of England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest.

Hong Kong East Asian city

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and commonly abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region.

On 2 September 2012, Tan won Singapore's first medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, a bronze in the dressage Individual Championship Test (class Ia). She followed this up with a silver medal in the Individual Freestyle Test (class Ia) on 4 September. For her achievements, Tan was conferred a Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) by the President in November 2012.

2012 Summer Paralympics sportive event

The 2012 Summer Paralympics, the 14th Summer Paralympic Games, and also more generally known as the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were a major international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), that took place in London, United Kingdom from 29 August to 9 September 2012. These Paralympics were one of the largest multi-sport events ever held in the United Kingdom after the 2012 Summer Olympics, and until the date the largest Paralympics ever: 4,302 athletes from 164 National Paralympic Committees participated, with fourteen countries appearing in the Paralympics for the first time ever.

Early years and education

Laurentia Tan was born on 24 April 1979 in Singapore. [1] She moved with her family to London at the age of three years due to her father's work. [2] [3] Tan developed cerebral palsy and profound deafness after birth, and doctors informed her parents that she would probably not be able to walk. Her family decided to settle in the United Kingdom as they felt she would be better able to reach her full potential with the medical facilities and specialist educational support available there. [3] When she was in school, she fell so often and sustained so many minor injuries that her teachers and the school nurse affectionately nicknamed her "Trouble". At five years she was unable to sit and walk properly, and took up horse riding at the Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders [4] in London as a form of physiotherapy. [2] This activity also helped her confidence and self-esteem. [5]

Singapore Republic in Southeast Asia

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Cerebral palsy A group of disorders affecting the development of movement and posture, often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, perception, cognition, and behavior. It results from damage to the fetal or infant brain.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking. Often, babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as early as other children of their age. Other symptoms include seizures and problems with thinking or reasoning, which each occur in about one third of people with CP. While symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, underlying problems do not worsen over time.

Tan completed her A-levels at the Mary Hare Grammar School, a residential special school for the deaf, [3] where she was a prefect. She also won an Elizabeth Dyson Prize for progress and achievement [6] and a prize for business studies. [7] From the age of 18, she stopped horse riding for eight years to pursue an honours degree in hospitality management and tourism at Oxford Brookes University, [2] and for a job as a mental health worker. [3] [5] However, she missed the sport and took it up again in 2005. Tan said, "For me, riding a horse gives me the freedom, movement and energy that my own legs cannot do." [3]

Boarding school School where some or all pupils live-in

A boarding school provides education for pupils who live on the premises, as opposed to a day school. The word "boarding" is used in the sense of "room and board", i.e. lodging and meals. As they have existed for many centuries, and now extend across many countries, their function and ethos varies greatly. Traditionally, pupils stayed at the school for the length of the term; some schools facilitate returning home every weekend, and some welcome day pupils. Some are for either boys or girls while others are co-educational.

Tourism travel for recreational or leisure purposes

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller's country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure and not less than 24 hours, business and other purposes".

Oxford Brookes University university in Oxford, England

Oxford Brookes University is a public university in Oxford, England. It can trace its origins to 1865 when the former Oxford School of Art was established. In 1992 it became a university and was renamed to honour its former principal, John Henry Brookes.

Sporting career

Tan took up riding in October 2005 at the Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders, where she met her coach Heather "Penny" Pegrum. Encouraged to participate in dressage competitions in March 2006, she quickly progressed to the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Nationals that year. In March 2007, RDA Singapore contacted Tan and invited her to join the Singapore team for the World Para Dressage Championships 2007, which was a qualifier for the 2008 Summer Paralympics. [8] The event, Tan's first international competition, was held at Hartpury College, Gloucester, in England in July 2007. She achieved 63% or higher in both her Team and Individual Tests, qualifying her to be selected for the 2008 Summer Paralympics. In the Freestyle to Music Test, despite her profound deafness, she was placed fourth in a field of 18 riders with a best score of 67.94%. [9] In October 2007, Tan went to Singapore for a visit and trained daily at Singapore's RDA with volunteer coach Sally Drummond. Tan resigned her job in June 2008 to train full-time with her coach Penny Pegrum and physiotherapist Anthea Pell. [2] [5]

2008 Summer Paralympics

The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games, the 13th Paralympics, took place in Beijing, China from September 6 to 17, 2008. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, equestrian events were held in Hong Kong and sailing events in Qingdao.

2008 Summer Paralympics

Tan's first Paralympic event was the para-dressage Individual Championship Test (class Ia). Riders in this event are categorized into classes I to IV, those in class I having the most severe disabilities. On 9 September, riding a 20-year-old chestnut gelding loaned to her named Nothing to Lose (also known as Harvey) at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Centre in Sha Tin, Tan scored 68.80% to claim the bronze medal behind the United Kingdom's Anne Dunham (73.10%) and Sophie Christiansen (72.80%). She thus became the first Singaporean to win a Paralympic medal, and the holder of Asia's first Paralympic equestrian medal. Two days after achieving the first medal, Tan collected her second bronze with a score of 70.167% for the Individual Freestyle Event, in which she performed to music with Nothing To Lose. [10] The president of the Equestrian Federation of Singapore, Melanie Chew, described her performance as "beyond our expectations", and that the wins would aid in promoting local awareness of the sport. [11] [12]

Tan's win sparked discussion about the recognition given to Paralympians in Singapore. A correspondent to the Straits Times criticized the fact that the newspaper had not elaborated on Tan's performance or what was involved in the event, but had "focused almost primarily on her disability". [13] Another letter writer to my paper expressed disappointment that less publicity had been given to Tan's achievement compared to the silver medals won by the Singapore women's table tennis team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. [14] In addition, a Today reader noted that Tan would be receiving S$25,000 for her bronze medal, a tenth of the S$250,000 that table tennis players Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu received for their silver medals. He felt that she should receive even more than them, given what she had achieved in spite of her disabilities. [15] The President of the Society for the Physically Disabled, Ms Chia Yong Yong, commented that the disparity between the cash awards given to able-bodied and disabled sportspeople was "disconcerting" and looked forward to a single common scheme, because:

If we persist in having two different standards, we reinforce the erroneous perception that disabled people are different, and strengthen the barriers against building an inclusive society. We cannot build a gracious inclusive society if we continue to deny the achievements of those perceived to be different and less able than we. [16]

Singaporean Paralympians Eric Ting Chee Keong, Jovin Tan Wei Qiang, Tan and Yip Pin Xiu at a Paralympics Celebration Ceremony at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on 20 September 2008 LaurentiaTan-20080920.jpg
Singaporean Paralympians Eric Ting Chee Keong, Jovin Tan Wei Qiang, Tan and Yip Pin Xiu at a Paralympics Celebration Ceremony at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on 20 September 2008

On 16 September, Nominated Member of Parliament Eunice Olsen asked in Parliament if there was a difference in the amount of funding given to Olympians and Paralympians, and why Paralympians receive a much smaller cash reward for medals won compared to Olympians. Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports), said that on a per capita basis disabled sportspeople received about S$106,000 in the current financial year compared to S$54,000 for each able-bodied sportsperson as there were 794 registered able-bodied sportspeople but only 16 disabled ones. Teo attributed the disparity in the cash rewards to the fact that Olympians faced higher levels and a larger scale of competition, since disabled sportspeople compete within disability classes. Further, cash rewards were provided by the private sector and Singapore Totalisator Board and were not paid out of state funds. The scheme for Olympians had also been in place for a number of years, while cash rewards for Paralympians were only introduced recently. [17] [18] He said that the government was looking at how it could "develop a system to accommodate all athletes that represent Singapore". [18]

Tan was conferred the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) by the President of Singapore at a ceremony at the Istana Singapore on 20 September 2008. [19] At an appreciation dinner on 21 November 2008, the Singapore National Paralympic Committee (SNPC) announced that it was increasing the monetary awards under its Athlete Achievement Award scheme for Paralympic Games medallists in individual and team events, a quarter of which would be paid to the SNPC towards developing elite athletes and sports. As a result, for her Paralympic win, Tan received a cash reward of S$37,500, S$12,500 of which went to the SNPC. [20] She made it into Today newspaper's list of athletes of the year for 2008 in eighth place, [21] and shared the Her World Young Woman Achiever 2008 award with Paralympian swimmer Yip Pin Xiu. [22]

2012 Summer Paralympics

On 2 September 2012, Tan won Singapore's first medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, a bronze in the dressage Individual Championship Test (class Ia). Riding on Ruben James 2, a gelding from Germany she had only known for ten months, she scored 73.650 percentage points. [23] Two days later, on 4 September, she scored 79.000 in the Individual Freestyle Test (class Ia) which brought her a silver medal. [24] Her wins brought her prizes of $50,000 (for her bronze medal) and $100,000 (silver) from the SNPC's Athletes Achievement Awards scheme, [23] again leading to comments about the stark difference between the cash prizes that Olympic and Paralympic medallists receive. [25] Twenty per cent of the prize money will be paid to the Singapore National Paralympic Council for training and development. For her achievements, Tan won The Straits Times newspaper's Star of the Month for September, and was conferred a Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) by the President on 11 November 2012. [26]

Medals

EventScore (%)MedalDateCompetition
2008
Individual Championship Test
(class Ia)
68.800 [5] Bronze 9 September 2008 2008 Summer Paralympics
Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
Individual Freestyle Test
(class Ia)
70.167 [10] Bronze 11 September 20082008 Summer Paralympics
Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
2012
Individual Championship Test
(class Ia)
73.650 [23] Bronze 2 September 2012 2012 Summer Paralympics
London, United Kingdom
Individual Freestyle Test
(class Ia)
79.000 [24] Silver 4 September 20122012 Summer Paralympics
London, United Kingdom

Notes

  1. Athlete biography: TAN Laurentia, Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, 2008, archived from the original on 16 March 2009, retrieved 13 September 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Tan Yo-Hinn (12 September 2008), "Tan's bronze shine: Thanks to mum and dad's resolve, this Singaporean is now a star athlete", Today , p. 53, archived from the original on 1 October 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Jeanette Wang (11 September 2008), "Laurentia, the perfectionist: Paralympic medallist lip-reads, insists on eating with chopsticks", The Straits Times , p. A9.
  4. The Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders: Who we are, Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders, archived from the original on 4 September 2012, retrieved 4 September 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Jeanette Wang (10 September 2008), "First medal for S'pore: Tan claims equestrian bronze, also Asia's first, at the Paralympic Games", The Straits Times, p. B14.
  6. Compare Speech Day awards 2007, Mary Hare Secondary School, 2007, archived from the original on 2 October 2008, retrieved 2 October 2008.
  7. Mary Hare history: Speech Day 1995, Mary Hare Grammar School, 2007, archived from the original on 5 January 2009, retrieved 13 September 2008.
  8. Siow Li Sen (13 September 2008), "Grooming disabled riders", Business Times (Singapore).
  9. Dressage rider Laurentia Tan qualifies for the 2008 Hong Kong Para-Olympics [sic]!, Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore, 22 August 2007, archived from the original on 18 December 2008, retrieved 11 September 2008.
  10. 1 2 Jeanette Wang (12 September 2008), "Bronze once again: Tan can't hear music but she and horse 'dance' their way to 2nd medal", The Straits Times, p. B21.
  11. Tan Yo-Hinn (12 September 2008), "Paralympics: Singapore's Laurentia Tan wins second Equestrian bronze", Channel NewsAsia , archived from the original on 12 September 2008.
  12. See also First Paralympian for Singapore emerges today – Laurentia Tan, Singapore Disability Sports Council, 9 September 2008, retrieved 13 September 2008; Tan Yo-Hinn (10 September 2008), "Tan the history-maker: She keeps her cool to win Singapore's first Paralympic medal", Today, p. 32, archived from the original on 1 October 2008; Low Lin Fhoong (11 September 2008), "Tan aims for No 2: One bronze in the bag, equestrian ace could taste more glory today", Today, p. 49, archived from the original on 1 October 2008; Roundup: British, German riders become biggest winners in Para-equestrian Freestyle, Xinhua News Agency, 12 September 2008, archived from the original on 15 September 2008.
  13. Liang Kaicheng (12 September 2008), "So proud, but why focus on disability?", The Straits Times.
  14. Yong Ming Han (12 September 2008), "Why so little attention paid to Paralympic bronze?", my paper (reproduced at AsiaOne), p. A28, archived from the original on 5 June 2011. See also Leo Chen Ian (President, Disabled People's Association) (22 September 2008), "The value of gold: Paralympians put in as much effort as Olympians do", Today, p. 22, archived from the original on 1 October 2008, which also appeared as "Disabled appeal for more media coverage [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A36, 20 September 2008.
  15. Chua Sin Bin (12 September 2008), "She deserves even more", Today, p. 38, archived from the original on 1 October 2008.
  16. Chia Yong Yong (17 September 2008), "Offer them equal treatment", The Straits Times, p. A23. See also Leonard Thomas (18 September 2008), "Stars who break down barriers", Today, p. 49, archived from the original on 1 October 2008.
  17. Jeremy Au Yong (17 September 2008), "Top disabled athletes get far more funding", The Straits Times, p. B9.
  18. 1 2 Tan Yo-Hinn (17 September 2008), "Paralympic hopefuls in line for more support", Today, p. 43, archived from the original on 1 October 2008. See also Marc Lim (18 September 2008), "M.A.P.'s new route: NSAs will get 20% cut of monetary award, some payouts reduced", The Straits Times, p. B14; Sim Chi Yin (18 September 2008), "Paralympians' feats inspire entire country", The Straits Times, p. B14.
  19. Valerie Chia (21 September 2008), "Joy ride for Paralympians", The Sunday Times (Sport), p. 33; Lin Xinyi (21 September 2008), "Historic reception", The Sunday Times (Sport), p. 33.
  20. Jeanette Wang (22 November 2008), "More for medallists: Paralympians Pin Xiu, Goh [sic: Tan] get double the prize money in award scheme", The Straits Times, p. C30, archived from the original on 2 December 2009; Tan Yo-Hinn (22–23 November 2008), "Paralympic stars Pin Xiu and Tan get cash boost", Today, p. 48, archived from the original on 23 November 2008.
  21. Leonard Thomas (31 December 2008), "The brightest star of all: Table tennis star Li Jiawei is TODAY's Singapore Athlete of the Year 2008", Today, p. 24, archived from the original on 1 January 2009.
  22. Her World Woman of the Year 2008: Media Release, SPH Magazines, 6 March 2009, archived from the original on 16 March 2009; Grace Chua (7 March 2009), "Her World Woman of the Year: Not the final curtain call yet: A pioneer in the arts world, Goh Soo Khim's love for dance continues", The Straits Times.
  23. 1 2 3 Terrence Voon (4 September 2012), "Tougher ride this time: Tan and her young horse have worked together for only 10 months", The Straits Times, p. B18; Alywin Chew (4 September 2012), "Laurentia Tan bags bronze medal: 33-year-old, who won bronze in Beijing Games, comes in third again in equestrian event", Today, p. 2, archived from the original on 4 September 2012. See also Rohit Brijnath (4 September 2012), "Victory lies in Tan's duel with life", The Straits Times, p. B18.
  24. 1 2 May Chen (6 September 2012), "Cool Tan's performance was inspiring, says Teo", The Straits Times, p. B20; "Paralympics: Laurentia Tan scores a silver: Success in Individual Freestyle Test makes Tan Singapore's most bemedalled Paralympian ever", Todayonline.com, 5 September 2012, archived from the original on 6 September 2012; Alywin Chew, "Living in a silent blockbuster", Today, p. 54, archived from the original on 6 September 2012.
  25. Shanta Danielle Arul (5 September 2012), "Why the big disparity in cash rewards? [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A21; Liew Khai Khiun (5 September 2012), Paralympic heroes deserve more [letter], Straitstimes.com, archived from the original on 5 September 2012; Terrence Voon (6 September 2012), "Call for equal rewards: Many want Paralympic medallists to reap same rewards as Olympic winners", The Straits Times, p. B20.
  26. Sanjay Nair (16 November 2012), "Tan aiming higher for Rio", The Straits Times, p. C14; see also Alywin Chew (16 November 2012), "Brazil in her sights", Today, p. 74, archived from the original on 16 November 2012.

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References

Further reading