Equestrian star celebrates with sporting royalty

North Devon Gazette

Ilfracombe equestrian star Caitlin Burgess revelled in rubbing shoulders with three British sporting heroes after being singled out to attend a special Parliamentary Reception hosted by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson at the House of Lords. Â

Burgess’ equine career is supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, and the talented sportswoman was one of 15 athletes hand-picked to attend the celebratory event in Westminster. Â

Grey-Thompson, an 11-time Paralympic champion, was joined by former Olympic champion Mohamed Sbihi and five-time Paralympic medallist Natasha Baker at the reception that celebrated the impact of SportsAid and Entain’s funding in transforming young careers. Â

Burgess, 20, had the unique opportunity to absorb Grey-Thompson, Sbihi and Baker’s eminent insight and enjoy a day in the capital to savour at the iconic political venue. Â

And Burgess, who finished 13th at this year’s European Championship aboard her horse Chocotof, said: “It was great to see everyone and it was nice to meet Natasha who I found really inspiring in Rio and Tokyo.  Â

“It was great to hear from all of them and see how from their perspective they've also faced hardships and struggles in their sporting journeys. Â

“I started dressage in 2012 after I was inspired by the London Olympics and Paralympics but I’ve been riding all my life. That Olympics was incredible and really life changing for me. Â

“SportsAid funding helped me get to the Europeans because, with Brexit, the prices of getting the horses out to different countries has gone up a lot. They've been so helpful with all the online sessions we had through the lockdown too.” Â

Over 400 athletes across Team GB and Paralympics GB in Tokyo had previously benefited from SportsAid funding and Baker, who scooped silver at Tokyo 2020, said: “I can remember receiving my first grant from SportsAid and it made a massive difference.”Â

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.Â