Historic moment as GB athletes prepare for Global Games debut in Karate and Equestrian

Chris Bradley, Joseph Clifton, Georgina Maton

For the first time Karate and Equestrian (Dressage) make their international debut at the Global Games with three British athletes being part of this historic moment.

Riders, Chris Bradley (Beds) and Georgina Maton (Herts), with Joseph Clifton (Surrey) representing Karate are all heading to Vichy as part of the GB Team. 

Supporting the Team are Nick Rodgers, Equestrian Team Manager, GB Equestrian Coach, Sarah Moreland and Matt Handley Team Manager/Head Coach, Karate, with escorts Veronica Bradley, Barbara Maton and Andy Clifton.

One of 14 sports at the Global Games, Karate Kata makes its Virtus debut.  Made possible by an international agreement with the World Karate Federation, 9 countries are expected to compete in the inaugural competition.

Marking an historic first-time invitation by SportExcel UK international athlete, and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Joseph Clifton said

‘I’m feeling, confident, proud, and strong. I’m out to win gold!’


Gold for Joseph Clifton at the Commonwealth Games

GB Team Manager (Karate), Matt Handley, said

‘It is a huge honour for me as a coach to be attending the Virtus Global Games and be the first Karate coach to represent our country at a Virtus Championships. It is a great privilege to work alongside our talented athlete, I am excited to see what we can achieve!’


The GB Karate Team arrives in Vichy on 6th June, with events commencing 8th June 2023.


Chris Bradley and Georgina Maton, representing GB at the 2023 Global Games

After 5 years of video Championships, Equestrian has achieved its spot at the highest levels in its first Virtus Global Games.

Alongside British riders, some of the strongest competitors from Spain, Australia, USA, Egypt, Germany, Chinese Taipei, and the host nation France will compete for glory.

No stranger to international competition, Chris Bradley made his mark with Virtus in the 2022 round of the World Para-Dressage video Championships taking top spot with his horse Harley.  Speaking about the win, Chris Bradley said

“I’m over the moon to come 1st. I was delighted with 8th in 2021 and thrilled to come 2nd in June 2022 but I didn’t dare to hope that I would ever come 1st. I am fortunate to have a great horse and a great coach who, makes me work very hard.”


Joining Bradley, is accomplished Grade 4 para-rider, Georgina Maton making her Virtus debut. As a multi-medallist, most recently winning the 2022 British Dressage Winter para-championships, Maton heads to Vichy with gold in her sights.

Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive SportExcel UK said

‘I’m thrilled to see our riders take their places amongst the world’s best and already from a strong starting position.  As for karate, our new collaboration with the British Karate Federation has made this possible.  A great deal of thanks goes to their Chairman and to GB Coach Matt Handley in embracing the opportunity and working with us to achieve our shared vision.  Joseph is making history, as our first ever selection in Karate – let’s hope that this is just the start of things to come.’ 


Tracey McCillen continues

‘The significance of seeing equestrian and karate join the Virtus programme and at the Global Games can’t be overstated.  It’s a huge milestone and an exciting one.  Congratulations to the whole Team – I’m excited to see what Vichy will hold for us.”


GB in pursuit of Global Games medals

The Virtus Global Games is the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. Athletes from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania will perform across ten main sports, with over 1200 athletes expected. Demonstration events are also included at every edition to reflect the most popular sports of the host nation that are not already on the Virtus programme.

Many athletes who have made their major international debut at the Global Games have gone on to win Paralympic titles. The event, hosted by the Virtus Member Organisation for France – the Fédération Française du Sport Adapté (FFSA) is scheduled every 4 years in the year ahead of the Paralympic Games.

British athletes will compete in the 2023 Global Games in athletics, para-dressage, judo, karate, swimming, and tennis. The Team is presented by SportExcelUK in collaboration with Down Syndrome Swimming GB, British Judo Association, Lawn Tennis Association, and the British Karate Federation, with selection supported by Home Country NGBs in swimming and athletics.

SportExcel UK promotes, supports, and facilitates talented sports people in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport. It is the only official Great Britain member of Virtus is responsible for and manages eligibility and classification across the UK and manages GB Teams to Virtus events.

Follow the action, get the timetable and all the results on the Global Games website

For more information on the GB Team, getting involved in Equestrian or Karate, contact SportExcel UK.