Claire Taggart from Larne has today been announced as part of the nine strong ParalympicsGB Boccia Squad for the Tokyo Paralympics Games. Having competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, this will be the current UK Champion's second Paralympic Games.
Speaking on her selection Claire commented,
"I am delighted to have been selected for my second Paralympics this year, Tokyo 2020. After making my Paralympic debut as a member of the BC1/2 team in 2016, I’m absolutely buzzing to have the opportunity to play in the individual and team event in Tokyo.
"I feel so honoured and proud to be able to represent Northern Ireland on such a global stage, and to hopefully spread awareness and knowledge of our sport. I’d like to thank my parents, friends and family, Sport NI, Disability Sport NI and the National Lottery for helping to support me on my journey to compete in Tokyo 2020, I couldn’t do it without you all."
Kevin O'Neill, Chief Executive Officer at Disability Sport NI congratulated Claire saying,
"The team at Disability Sport NI is delighted to see Claire Taggart announced for the ParalympicsGB Boccia Squad. Claire who is reigning UK Champion is passionately dedicated to Boccia and has played a key role in the development of the sport within Northern Irleand. It will be a pleasure to see Claire compete at her second Paralympic Games.".
His sentiments were firmly echoed by Terry Conroy, DIsability Sport NI's Boccia Pathways Officer who said,
“Claire had a great competition season during 2019, and has continued her hard work through 2020 to ensure she was in the best position possible returning to court earlier this year. Claire has always been a great role model for other players in our pathway and continues to be a great ambassador for Northern Ireland boccia on the world stage, and we are all looking forward to seeing her compete in Tokyo at her second Paralympics.”
Helen Nicholls, Boccia UK’s Performance Director, said:
“The build up to this Paralympic Games has thrown our athletes and the support team so many challenges but they have responded with resilience and determination. In this squad, we have experienced, established athletes as well as three players who will be making their first-ever Paralympic appearance. With less than 50 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Games, our preparations are on track and we’ll be ready to take on the world’s best boccia players.”
Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission, said:
“I’m so pleased to be able to welcome our boccia squad to the ParalympicsGB team bound for Tokyo in less than 50 days’ time. The squad boasts a superb mix of experienced Paralympians and Games debutants who I believe will make the nation proud with their performances in Japan this summer.
“All nine athletes have shown terrific strength and resolve since the start of the COVID pandemic last year and I look forward to seeing just what they can achieve on the boccia court at Tokyo 2020 this summer.”
The ParalympicsGB squad for Tokyo includes:
- Claire Taggart
- David Smith
- Evie Edwards
- Will Hipwell
- Stephen McGuire
- Jamie McCowan
- Scott McCowan
- Beth Moulam
- Louis Sanders