Carly Tait: the incredible story of the Manchester Paralympian

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Carly Tait gave an exclusive interview to Quays News, revealing how she overcame the difficulties she faces as a result of suffering from cerebral palsy in order to compete in the Paralympics games.

She is a T34 class wheelchair racer and a proud owner of a GB vest, worn during many major world games such as; Rio Paralympics 2016, European Championships Italy 2016 and World Championships London 2017.

Image of Carly Tait

Official photograph of Carly Tait

The London 2012 Olympics inspired Carly Tait to become involved in the Paralympics. Before watching the event, Carly suffered an injury, leaving her trapped in the hotel room, unable to make it to the games.

Injuries like these are highly common for individuals like Carly due to the impact that cerebral palsy has upon them.

However, luckily in this case the game-makers were at hand to help Carly get into her seat, and attend the event. This kind gesture from these volunteers moved Carly and contributed to her journey into sport.

“It was credit to those game-makers as they allowed me to get there and that was a show of unity and that it doesn’t matter about your disability, we’ll help you. I just thought if people with disabilities can achieve to that extent and can get to an elite level in sport then there’s no reason why I couldn’t.”

Carly described herself as unhealthy and a novice to sport back in 2012, but this show of celebrating disability led her to a decision that shaped her future in an unimaginable way.

Four years on, Carly achieved the unthinkable as she lined up at the Rio Paralympics next to the very athletes she’d watched compete just years earlier. The process to this world stage wasn’t plain sailing as Carly overcame boundaries and challenges to make it to the start line.

“I knew that if I was going to do this and get selected then I would have to become a force to be reckoned with quite early on. That meant I had to put every ounce of my being into that process.”

For the first-year Carly couldn’t even push in a straight line, but she knew that the process of getting to the world stage is one that would take a lot of time and effort.

“I had to do things within my limits and then over time I was able to push those limits and once you’ve pushed those limits then you can exceed those limits.”

Carly’s proudest achievement was succeeding in gaining selection for the GB team after such a short space of time learning and mastering the sport.

“There were a lot of times when I wanted to give up especially in the beginning when I would stomp off the track thinking ‘I can’t do this’. Then I’d calm down, have a word with myself and get back to it. I think one of the stand out moments for me was my first ever GB vest because that was quite early on in my career and it was a massive deal for me.”

She then went on to compete in front of thousands of people in the UK and internationally, representing Great Britain.

After blood, sweat, and tears Carly finally made it to the world stage that she had been working so hard towards since the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics. Carly described Rio 2016 as “the carrot dangling in front of her”, the competition that kept her motivated and focused.

“Rio was a sign of how far I’d come because you’re not going to go and compete on such a world stage with the best in the world if you are not one of the best. I used it as recognition to say yes, you’ve got there.”

 

“I came back from Rio feeling a little down and that it hadn’t been celebrated. I think that was because we had been so detached from home. The Manchester parade was the opportunity to celebrate with the Olympians as well as everyone in Manchester and that was brilliant.”

Carly’s journey into sport had begun during the celebrations of the London 2012 games so she felt it fitting that her journey ended in celebration back in Britain.

In terms of the future, Carly Tait is taking a short break from wheelchair racing to focus on her other passion; marketing.

“I’m not really sure what the future holds at the minute. I’ve still got my chair and I’m still pushing in it so I’m never going to let that go but at the minute I’m undecided about Tokyo. Sport doesn’t last forever, you can make a career out of sport and if you’re lucky enough to do so then that’s great.”

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