New Zealand Paralympian thanks Bishop Burton College ahead of London 2012 Games
24 August 2012
Paralympian Anthea Gunner says her chances of glory at the London 2012 Games have been given a huge boost courtesy of Bishop Burton College.
The New Zealand para-dressage rider has been receiving personal training from the College sports department's Stacey Reeves while her horse has been stabled at the East Yorkshire campus.
Anthea, who was paralysed from the waist down after a riding accident in 2006 said: “Back home I work full-time as a PA, so by the time I have ridden and cared for my horse there's little time left for exercising.
“But while we've been based at Bishop Burton I've been able to come to daily training sessions with Stacey and I almost immediately noticed an improvement in my core stability.
“When you are disabled gyms can be quite daunting places. It's hard to imagine how you'll manage to use the equipment but my time at Bishop Burton has given me the confidence to try new things. I would really recommend the gym and especially Stacey's personal training sessions. She's given me some exercises that I can continue with at the Olympic village and the motivation to keep up with them when I get home.”
30-year-old Anthea has had a rapid rise to the top. She bought her horse Huntingdale Incognito, who she competes at grade two level para-dressage, in late 2007 and started competing in early 2008.
“Before my accident I used to event and showjump.
"I absolutely hated dressage but now it's such a huge part of my life. I love it", she said.
For Anthea one of the highlights of her stay at Bishop Burton has been meeting up with Canadian gold and silver Paralympic medallist Lauren Barwick, who has also been training at the College.
"When I had my accident my boyfriend found out about her on the Internet and, because she had the same injuries to me, she was my inspiration. I was determined not to give up horses and once I started riding again I kept thinking about Lauren."
Such is her love of horses that she – and fiancé of seven years Aaron Dixon – shelved wedding plans a couple of years ago, and put in a dressage arena instead. It all paid off for the couple when news came through that Anthea had been chosen for the New Zealand team.
Anthea's appearance at the games will mark the first time New Zealand has had an equestrian representative at the Paralympics since Jayne Craike at Athens in 2004.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games is the biggest ever, with 4200 athletes from 160 countries competing in 20 sports.
Personal trainer Stacey added: "I will really miss Anthea when she leaves to take up her place in the Olympic village. It's been an absolute joy to work with her and she's such an inspirational person. Of course, they will be cheering for her back home but she's made such an impression that they'll probably hear everybody at Bishop Burton shouting and screaming for her down in London - maybe even in New Zealand!"
For further information about the gym at Bishop Burton email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Credit: Bishop Burton College
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