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8th January 2013, 1:32pm
Paralympic star named in New Year’s Honours list
Sophie Wells MBE Gold-medal winning Paralympian and University of Lincoln student Sophie Wells has been awarded an MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.

The 22-year old international dressage rider was appointed as a Member of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) on New Year’s Day for services to equestrianism. The award follows her outstanding contribution to the Great Britain equestrian team’s gold medal performance at London 2012, where she also won two individual silver medals in the Grade IV dressage competition.

Sophie, who won her one gold and two silver medals on horse Pinocchio, was named alongside other stars of London 2012, as the Olympic and Paralympic Games took centre stage on the New Year’s Honours list.

The honour concludes an extraordinary year for Sophie, who deferred her studies in Sport and Exercise Science at Lincoln to compete with Team GB, and follows her success at the Lincolnshire Sports Awards 2012, where she was named as Lincolnshire Sports Personality of the Year 2012.

On hearing the news of Sophie’s inclusion on the 2013 New Year’s Honours list, Robin Wright, Director of Sport at the University of Lincoln, said: “We are all so very proud of Sophie's achievements this past year. 2012 has been a fantastic year and few of us will ever forget the huge impact that the Olympics and the Paralympics has had on our lives.

“The Games provided us with some superb sporting stories but the Paralympics set a new benchmark for how we interact with people with disabilities. We are now starting to understand more about the high skill levels that are required to compete at international levels.”

Born with amniotic band syndrome that affects her joints, Sophie is such an outstanding dressage talent that she has also competed at non-disabled international level.

In 2008 she became the first para-equestrian dressage rider to win an able-bodied international competition, after she finished first in the junior international class at Hickstead under-21 international. Sophie is also the World and European Champion at Para Dressage Grade IV, having won three gold medals at the 2009 European Championships, and two gold medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

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