World Cup gold for Larne’s Claire Taggart

Larne’s Claire Taggart has cemented her position as one of the world’s strongest boccia players, winning her first-ever World Cup.

Unbeaten all week in Portugal, the Northern Ireland player stormed through the pool matches with a 5-1 win over Ana Correia of Portgual and then she saw off Slovakia’s Kristina Kudlacova 9-3.

Meeting Vivien Nagy at the quarter final stages, she forced the Hungarian out of the competition with an incredible 13-0 victory before eliminating China’s Hiu Lam Yeung 6-1.

In the final, she faced Correia again, a repeat of Taggart’s opening match. It went to 2-2 but Taggart won on tie-break.

Claire was unbeaten during her time in Portugal.

She said: “I’m beyond delighted to win my first ever World Cup and to do it here in Portugal with my dad and all my teammates is amazing. I’m just so proud of all the work I’ve put in and I’m so grateful for all the support my teammates, my coach Glynn (Tromans) and support staff have given me.”

Congratulating Claire, a spokesperson for Larne Football Club said: “A massive congratulations to our Disability Access Officer Claire Taggart who has just won gold at the Boccia World Cup in Povoa

“What an incredible achievement by a local sporting hero.”

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Claire was part of a nine-strong Boccia team representing the UK at the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo last summer.

The east Antrim woman became the first Boccia athlete from Northern Ireland to win a British Championship, securing the title in the BC2 classification in 2018.