Riding centre welcomes back paralympic medallist, Laurentia Tan

Kingston Guardian: Laurentia Tan Laurentia Tan

A Paralympic medallist returned to the riding centre where she first trained when she was just five years old.

Laurentia Tan, an equestrian competitor who won Singapore’s first ever Paralympic medal, learnt to ride at Carshalton's Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders.

The 33-year-old, from Kingston, who was born with cerebral palsy and is profoundly deaf, started at the centre when she was five years old to help with her mobility.

She went on to compete at the Beijing Paralympics for Singapore, gaining two bronze medals in dressage, and this summer at London 2012 she won silver and a bronze.

She returned to the centre on Sunday, taking part in a musical performance at their autumn fair. 

Speaking of her time at the centre, she said: "For many years, it was more therapeutic, helping with my mobility, my co-ordination, muscle strengthening.

"With riding, my posture and my walk improved a lot. I have always enjoyed riding and over the years I would often watch the more advance riders with admiration."

She said it was great to return to the centre.

Miss Tan said: "To be honest, I did not realise it was not only going to be Singapore’s first ever medals for the Paralympics, but also it was the first for the whole of Asia in the equestrian events. 

"When my first event in the Beijing 2008 had finished and I got my bronze medal I felt as though I was dreaming still feeling in a state of shock.

Miss Tan met her horse, Ruben James, last October and said she fell in love with him within five minutes of riding him.

After winning her two medals in London this summer Miss Tan took part in the victory parade in Singapore and got to enjoy a champagne dinner.

Miss Tan trains with Diamond Centre’s instructor Penny Pegrum and said she hopes to be selected for Rio in 2016.

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