Brackley wheelchair fencer rubs shoulders with sporting heroes at House of Lords

Abigail Marshall meets former Olympic and Paralympic champions at parliamentary reception

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 9:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 9:54 am

Brackley wheelchair fencer Abigail Marshall rubbed shoulders with three British sporting heroes after being singled out to attend a parliamentary reception hosted by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson at the House of Lords.

Abigail’s athletics career is supported by a partnership between Entain and SportsAid, and the talented athlete was one of 15 athletes hand picked to attend the celebratory event in Westminster.

Tanni 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.

Abigail, second from left in the middle row, with the athletes at the House of Lords reception

Tanni Grey-Thompson, who racked up an amazing 16 Paralympic medals between Seoul 1988 and Athens 2004, said: "Sport is so important to British society - not just medal success, but giving young people that chance to be the best that they can be.

"My career and so much of what I did was based on the support I had from SportsAid, and it's amazing to see that support going back to young athletes going forward."

Abigail, aged 17, who became disabled in 2017 due to hip and leg deformities before taking up the sport, had the chance to mingle with the other SportsAid and Entain-supported athletes before listening to speeches from Grey-Thompson, Sbihi and Baker to cap a memorable two hours.

SportsAid alumni won 14 gold, 19 silver and 14 bronze medals for Team GB this summer while in the Paralympics they claimed 26 gold, 33 silver and 35 bronzes as the revolutionary impact of the funding was showcased on the biggest sporting stage.

Abigail Marshall

Over 400 athletes across Team GB and ParalympicsGB in Tokyo had previously benefited from SportsAid funding.

Natasha Baker, who scooped silver at Tokyo 2020, said: “I can remember receiving my first grant from SportsAid and it made a massive difference.

“Not just in a monetary sense, but it opens up a lot of doors and enables you to do things that you wouldn't have been able to do without that money.”

Rower Mohamed Sbihi, who added bronze in the men’s eight to his coxless four glory in Rio, said: “Having the support and confidence in me through SportsAid helped me bridge that gap to the next level.

“I was able to represent GB as a junior and 18 years later, here I am sat talking to the young athletes.”

Entain, the 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.