Paralympic Champion Tai will miss Tokyo Games

24 Jun 2021

The Poole-born swimmer, who set the pool alight at the London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships with seven gold medals, has withdrawn from this summer's Paralympic Games through injury.

The preparations for all athletes targeting success at the postponed Tokyo 2020 have been far from smooth sailing in a world navigating a global pandemic, and unfortunately for Alice Tai this has been further hampered by an elbow injury that despite best efforts to rehab, will curtail her involvement at this summer’s Games. 

Tai, who claimed a maiden Paralympic title as part of the Women’s 34 Points 4x100m Medley Relay at Rio 2016, attempted a return to competitive action at April’s British Para-Swimming International Meet. However after ongoing consultation with a specialist surgeon, she has decided the best decision for her career is to withdraw from Tokyo 2020 consideration and focus on a full recovery.

Rio 2016 Paralympic relay gold
Alice Tai (left) celebrates gold with Claire Cashmore, Stephanie Slater and Stephanie Millward at Rio 2106

Confirming her withdrawal from selection, Alice Tai said:

“Competing at Tokyo 2020 has been my main goal for the last five years, so it’s devastating that I’ll be missing the Games later this year. The decision to withdraw was extremely difficult to accept but my health is ultimately more important than competing. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with an incredible core team who exhausted all conservative treatments to keep me in the pool; it’s comforting to know there was nothing more that could’ve been done. Even if I’m not racing myself, I’ll still be watching the Games and cheering everyone on from home so best of luck to you guys!”

Chris Furber, British Para-Swimming Performance Director commented:

“It’s been a cruel decision for Alice to face, however I have every confidence she has the determination to bounce back from this setback and will go onto achieve further success at major meets over the next few years on the journey to Paris 2024.

“We’ll miss her presence among the team this summer - Alice holds a wealth of experience and is one of the characters in the squad many of our newer members look up to, but I’m sure despite her own personal disappointment she will be wishing every success to her teammates in Tokyo.”

With the sporting calendar of 2022 featuring a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the next edition of the World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, Tai has plenty to set her sights on during her recovery and will continue to receive the support of the British Para-Swimming staff and medical team.