Teenager Claire Taggart from Larne has Dystonia, a condition that contracts the muscles in her body forcing them into fixed abnormal positions. In three short years she has gone from being fully able-bodied to being permanently needing to use a wheelchair.
Claire is sports mad and loves playing Wheelchair Rugby (she is a member of the Ulster Barbarians) and Boccia (Claire is also on the Ulster Boccia Squad).
Claire started playing Boccia at Ballygally Hall in Larne nearly two years ago. She is classified as BC4, which means she has a non-cerebral condition and as a result she is able to play at national and international level.
She competed at international level for the first time in May 2014 in the GB Boccia Championships finishing 10th overall in the BC4 category. Eventually she would like to be selected for Team GB in Boccia to compete in the Paralymic Games.
Claire was introduced to Boccia through her best friend Talia McDowell who is a BC3 classified player and from this she joined the Ballygally Boccia Club.
Odhran Doherty who is our Performance Officer responsible for developing the sport of Boccia across Northern Ireland, spotted Claire's potential as a Boccia player early on and has helped develop her skills through monthly sessions that he runs with the Ulster Boccia Squad.
I have met lots of new people at the monthly training sessions and when we went for our recent trip to Wigan, I met and developed an amazing network of fellow Boccia players who I always keep in touch with. I want to be pushed to achieve my highest possible potential both in Boccia and Wheelchair Rugby. Claire Taggart.