Cruise company imagines a golden future for Paralympian

By Ben Carey on 7 October, 2022

Wiltshire judoka Paralympian, Chris Hunt Skelley MBE, has secured a sponsorship deal with Imagine Cruising ahead of the Judo World Championships.

Chris is the current world number one in his weight class (+90kg) and Paralympic champion, winning gold in the Tokyo 2020 games.

Registered blind, Chris started his judo journey when he was five years old and believes the sport kept him going as he came to terms with his disability. 

He is now setting his sights on the World Judo Visually Impaired Championships in Azerbaijan in November – the first of the qualifying events for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

Speaking of the sponsorship deal, he said, “It’s an important moment in my overall competitive ambitions and I’m keen to get back to training so that I can start to prepare for November.

“I am really grateful for the support shown by Imagine Cruising. Their sponsorship will help me to realise my ambitions to go to Azerbaijan and to perform to my best at the World Championships with the longer-term goal of qualifying for Paris in 2024. It means so much to me.”

Swindon-based Imagine Cruising was launched in 2011 by Robin Deller and Natalie Maye with the aim of introducing something genuinely different to the world of cruising.

The company pairs cruises with immersive tours, so that rather than simply flying to a country to set off on a cruise, you get to see and experience that destination country as well. The pairing has been a success with the company now operating in five countries, with more than 250 staff, sending more than 50,000 people on cruise holidays worldwide every year.

Robin Deller, CEO of Imagine Cruising, said, “We’re really happy to be sponsoring Chris and to help him compete in the World Championships and beyond. We felt that it was an important opportunity to support a world-class local athlete and to play a part in his journey to the next Paralympics.

“The team here at Imagine Cruising are inspired by athletes like Chris who empower others to be all that they can be, and we admire his determination to be among the best Paralympians in the world in his sport.” 

Pictured: Chris Hunt Skelly MBE alongside Robin Deller, CEO of Imagine Cruising