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Louise Sugden

Louise SugdenGreat Britain wheelchair basketball player and double Paralympian Louise Sudgen is a Panathlon sporting patron.

An experienced member of the GB women’s squad, Louise is currently looking forward to her third Paralympic Games at Rio 2016.

Part of the GB team since 2003, Louise has won five European Championship bronze medals and has represented Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and the “once-in-a-lifetime experience” of London 2012.

The 30-year-old has been a regular at Panathlon competitions in recent years and enjoys watching disabled children getting to compete on a level playing field. Having experienced PE lessons in her wheelchair surrounded by able-bodied children while at school herself, Louise understands the importance of providing inclusive sport for young disabled people.

“You can get disheartened if you’re playing against people who are running around and you’re not doing very well,” said Louise. “The fact that these kids are all playing on a level playing field is so crucial, because it helps them realise what they can do.

“I took part in a similar event when I was growing up and it was the highlight of my year. That’s when I started to realise my competitiveness. It was the beginning of my journey into Paralympic sport.

“The whole legacy thing is important, which is why I come to events like Panathlon and do anything I can to inspire as many kids as possible. I just love the thought of someone saying: ‘I can achieve stuff because she has.’”

Panathlon aims to create a legacy of its own at grassroots level, but there is always the chance that someone involved at an event will be inspired to bigger and better things, and perhaps one day achieve the same heights as this Paralympian.

You can find out more about Louise and read her blog at louisesugden.co.uk.