752. Sophia Warner
Sophia Warner is the founder of ‘Superhero Series’, the UK’s only mass-participation disability sports series.
Sophia, a former Paralympian track and field athlete, decided to get more disabled people participating in sport by holding a more accessible mass-participation event. Participants in ‘Superhero Series’ can complete a triathlon, in entirety or in part, and solo or as part of a team. Sophia has recruited a team of celebrity team captains, including eight-time equestrian Paralympic gold medalist Sophie Christiansen, to help drive the event. The award was given the day before the debut event, which features three uniquely designed triathlons, held at Dorney Lake in Windsor.
In a personal letter to Sophia, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You are using your position as a former Paralympian to empower and integrate disabled people in sport, helping to make sport more accessible. You should be immensely proud of your achievements and I wish you and all the Superhero Series participants the best at tomorrow’s debut event.”
Sophia’s local Member of Parliament, Sir Paul Beresford MP, said:
“I am absolutely delighted for Sophia and feel that this award is no less than she deserves as recognition of the outstanding work she has done to create Superhero Series. Getting more disabled people to participate in sport is a brilliant achievement and I commend the way Sophia has set about doing this. She and her whole team have my best wishes for the future which I am certain will be very bright.”
“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of The Superhero Series team. I can’t believe that something that began as a small dream has grown into something super-sized. The idea is simple: to create fun, gutsy sports events where the person with the disability calls the shots. They are not ‘bolted on’ to a non-disabled event, you can use whatever equipment you want and you don’t have to be a Paralympian to be disabled and enjoy sport. I feel incredibly privileged to wake up every morning and love what I do. I hope that through our events and efforts we can enable more Superheroes to find their super powers through sport.”