British para dressage rider Sophie Christiansen has received a prestigious Woman of the Future award.
The triple Paralympic gold medallist came out on top in the sport category of the 2015 awards (27 October).
Hundreds came to celebrate the awards that recognise women under 35 who are influential in their sector. Winners included construction specialists, poverty campaigners and composers, as well as athletes.
“I am absolutely honoured to have won the award as there were some very worthy nominations in the category,” said Sophie. “I feel that it is important for me to use my platform as gold medalist to promote disabled rights and the judging panel recognised my accomplishments and work outside the arena too.”
27-year-old Sophie has cerebral palsy and was inspired to start riding after a school trip to her local RDA centre, aged six.
Her first major international success came at the 2004 Athens Games where she won an individual bronze medal. Sophie has since gone on to win three gold medals and one silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics.
She won team gold, individual gold and freestyle silver at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Sophie also won gold in the freestyle at this year’s FEI European Para Dressage Championships in Deauville, France (20 September).
“2015 is the first year that the Women of the Future awards has included a sports category, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving inaugural winner than Sophie,” added Pinky Lilani, founder of Women of the Future.
“The judges picked out Sophie for her ‘ferocious determination to succeed’ as shown by her successes so far and those that we know she will continue to realise. We know that she’ll be a phenomenal ambassador for Women of the Future and I am so proud to list her name among our winners this year.”
Women of the Future 2015 winners
- Arts and Culture: Hannah Kendall, composer
- Business: Lisa Neale, General Manager, voice and multimedia service operations, BT Group
- Community Spirits: Jackie Scully, group account director, Think
- Entrepreneurship: Gemma Richards, director, SA Flyers
- MBA Star: Priyanka Agarwal, founder, Vritti Learning and Research
- Media: Jack Monroe, writer and campaigner, Jack Monroe
Professional: Victoria Price, partner, EY
- Real Estate, Infrastructure and Construction: Hannah Feddon, associate director, Faithful and Gould
- Science: Tessa Baker, postdoctoral fellow at All Souls, University of Oxford
- Sport: Sophie Christiansen, paralympic athlete, Team GB
- Technology and Digital: Dr Laura Toogood, managing director of Private Clients, Digitalis Reputation
- Young Star: Phoebe Gormley, managing director, Gormley and Gamble
- Mentor: Alex Peace-Gadsby, director, Musto Ltd
- Corporate: Synergy Vision