Paralympian Natasha Baker has spoken about reconnecting with fellow competitors outside of the sports arena.
The five-time Paralympic gold medallist equestrian rider has filmed an episode of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, which also features fellow Paralympians judoka Chris Skelley, former cyclist-turned-sports presenter Arthur Williams, former swimming champion Liz Johnson and basketball player Amy Conroy.
The popular dining show sees each contestant host a dinner party in order to win money for charity.
Baker told the PA news agency: “I do enjoy a bit of cooking so that was great.
“And just to be able to do it with fellow competitors, it was such a nice feeling, like every single night we had so much fun.
“Obviously, we had tonnes in common, which was great. Because we normally all get together in competition environments, it was really nice to see each other in a more social kind of environment.”
The 31-year-old, who is also a five-time European champion and has won one gold and three silver medals at the world championships, explained how her diet has become quite strict in the run-up to the Paralympic Games.
However, she admitted she was looking forward to an indulgent meal when it was over, saying: “I’m really looking forward to a big pizza, I love pizza.
“My other half is half Italian, so we do have quite a lot of Italian influence in our food on a day-to-day basis.
“And a nice big glass of red wine, or a bottle of red wine, that would be great.”
The champion athlete contracted the transverse myelitis virus at 14 months old which left her with permanent nerve damage, loss of balance and sensation and severe weakness in her legs.
She explained that her lockdown experience had been very difficult at the beginning as her trainer was not allowed to come out and she could not see a physiotherapist.
Baker said: “I was fine for probably the first two or three weeks and then I started to deteriorate because I need physio every week to keep my body in check and obviously that wasn’t happening.
“So that was really difficult and so we just did the best that we could.”
During the second lockdown, under the elite sports exemption, she was able to continue training.
Paralympian Skelley, who is ranked world number one in the under 100kg category in judo, also confessed that he was a “foodie”, which can make life difficult when trying to make his weight category for competitions.
He said: “My nutritionist would say I’ve been a bit of a headache, I do love my pastries, but it’s knowing when I can have them.
“(After Tokyo) I think I am going to visit Greggs, I’ve not seen one in at least two months, which is a long time for me.”
On his thoughts about competing in the Paralympics soon, he said: “I think Team GB has done a phenomenal job, and I’m sure our Paralympic Team GB athletes are going to be up there and smash it as well.”
Come Dine With Me: Paralympics Special will air on Channel 4 on August 16.