Ms Tait, who was inspired to start exercising by London 2012, has been selected to join the Paralympic GB team and compete in the T34 – 100m.
Four years ago, she vowed to do everything possible to “be on the starting line in Rio” after being inspired by the London Games’ closing ceremony and having her eyes opened to the sporting opportunities for people with cerebral palsy. At the time, she did no exercise or competitive sport, but one month after the 2016 Paralympics, she joined Stockport Harriers Wheelchair Racing. In 2016, the Group provided a paid career-break, giving her the opportunity to chase her dream and the time to train and prepare properly.
“I never realised the opportunities that existed for disability sport, my knowledge was limited and there was nothing I had seen that I could relate to until the attention of London 2012 opened my eyes,” said Ms Tait.
“I did very little sport at secondary school, My balance, co-ordination and strength was affected, I wore callipers and splints, and at 15 I had an operation to re-align my legs.
“Sport was often an isolating experience and so by the time I went to university I had long since resigned myself to the idea that sport wasn’t for me. My lifestyle and diet reflected this, I smoked, went to parties, I was over-weight and I over-indulged. My health deteriorated to the extent that if it wasn’t for the London Games Makers I wouldn’t even have got to my seat in the stadium. And when I told my friends that my goal was to be on the starting line at Rio, they thought it was hilarious.
The 30 year-old athlete, who lives in Manchester, recently returned from the European Championships in Grosseto, Italy, with two silver medals.
“The news of my selection is just unbelievable. It is a dream come true for me,” she said.
“I can’t thank people enough for all of the support and encouragement, and anything I can do to raise awareness of the benefits of disability sports in order to help others I will do.”