Special Olympian becomes UK’s first licensed zumba instructor with Down’s syndrome

  • Olympian discovered her passion for Zumba after beginning classes during lockdown
  • Inspiring 24 year old began pursuing a career in Zumba and has since gained her licence

An Olympic athlete has become the UK’s first licensed zumba instructor with Down’s syndrome after taking up the pasttime during lockdown.

Hannah Payton, 24 from Atherton in Greater Manchester, has already won medals representing Great Britain in the Special Olympics for both badminton and swimming.

The determined 24 year old began taking zumba classes during lockdown when she had to shield during the pandemic due to her condition – which meant she could no longer practice swimming and badminton.

Zumba combines Latin and international music with dance moves, gaining popularity in recent years because of its many physical benefits.

Hannah’s mother Jutta said: “Hannah wasn’t feeling great during the lockdown as she had to shield.

“She is very, very active and that all stopped.”

People have been so supportive, I am very happy and very proud

Jutta said that Hannah found out about the classes online in a bid to keep active.

After falling in love with the Latin aerobics, Hannah decided to challenge herself, telling NQ: “I dreamt of becoming an instructor.”

Hannah gained her licence in October. Jutta said she worried there wouldn’t be a market for Hannah in the industry but has been overwhelmed by the positive responses she has received.

“Hannah is a special Olympics athlete, so I know what she can achieve. She’s very successful and when it comes to Zumba, at first I wasn’t sure but I’m really happy,” she said.

“People have been so supportive, I am very happy and very proud.”

Hannah told NQ: “People are very pleased with me.”

She is currently in talks to begin teaching soon.