Larne paralympian Claire jets off to Rio

Larne's Para Olympian Claire Taggart. INLT 31-210-AM
Larne's Para Olympian Claire Taggart. INLT 31-210-AM

Larne paralympian Claire Taggart is settling into the athlete’s village in Rio as she prepares for Team GB’s first boccia match.

Claire, 21, left Belfast for Heathrow last Friday and then embarked on a 12-hour flight to the other side of the world to represent her country.

The local girl, who suffers from muscle contraction condition dystonia, was accompanied by her Dad Stephen on the journey.

Her proud mum Maggie says that Claire is adjusting “really well” to South America and is looking forward to her first match at the weekend.

“They told me that the athlete’s village is amazing, with a food hall the size of two football pitches,” Maggie revealed.

“Everything has been very well arranged, and Claire and her dad are sharing an apartment with her team-mate Josh Roe and his mum Carol.”

Maggie is hoping to catch a glimpse of her daughter on TV during the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

“That would be a very teary moment,” she continued.

“It would be the culmination of a few years of hard work, and she’s now part of the GB Boccia family, which means the world to all of us.”

Despite the challenge of the games, athletes won’t be resting on their laurels for long after they conclude.

“After Rio they will have a couple of months off and then they are straight into the four-year cycle for Tokyo,” Maggie explained.

“Claire will have her sights set on that and I hope to accompany her to the next one.”