Ellie Challis

Team Sanofi Athlete

At a glance




19 years old


Great Britain


Defeating meningitis

About the Athlete

Ellie is a British Para-swimmer and Great Britain’s youngest Paralympic Games medalist. Ellie’s story is about courage, determination and resilience. She's an unstoppable force of nature, on a mission to become the best swimmer in her category. Beyond her impressive career as an athlete, Ellie uses her platform to drive positive change, sharing her story to raise awareness and prevent meningitis. 

Ellie was 16 months old when she contracted meningitis and was given just a five percent chance of survival, resulting in the amputation of her four limbs. She began swimming at the age of eight at the Colchester Phoenix swimming club in England after being inspired by a dolphin named Winter, whose tail was amputated after getting caught in a crab trap.

Ellie is the only elite British female in her S3 category and the only Briton, male or female, in the S1-S4 category. Since emerging on the international scene, she's been a trailblazer for what people with severe impairments can achieve, both in and out of the pool – inspiring people with disabilities to do sport.

She supports the Saint Mary Hospital in London, where she was cured after contracting the disease and still keeps in touch with the physician who saved her life. On top of being a world-class swimmer preparing for the Paris 2024 Games and a talented snowboarder, she also dreams of becoming a baker.

Theo Curin, Ellie Challis and Davide Morana
Theo Curin, Ellie Challis and Davide Morana

She took part in the creation of a unifying symbol, the Meningitis Flag, co-created with two other para-athletes affected by meningitis, Théo Curin and Davide Morana, and the world’s leading meningitis charity – the Meningitis Research Foundation and Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO), working with Sanofi.

Learn more about The Meningitis Flag

World Track Record

  • At the World Para Swimming 2023 she won :
     - Gold : SB2 50m Breaststroke; S3 50m Backstroke; S3 200m Freestyle
     - Silver : S3 50m Freestyle; S3 100m Freestyle
     - Bronze : SM3 150m Individual Medley (British record)
  • 2022 World Champion for the 50-meter breaststroke SB2 event and winner of three other silver medals in S3 events at the 2022 World Championships.
  • Won silver in the women’s 50-meter backstock S3 at Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Paralympics Games.
  • Won Bronze in the S3 50m backstrokes at the 2019 World Championships in London, England. 

Follow Ellie’s journey to Paris 2024

Meet the Team

Valériane Ayayi

Baskeball, France