Today marks World Cerebral Palsy Day, a movement which takes place in more than 75 countries.
There are 17 million people across the world living with cerebral palsy (CP). It is the most common physical disability in childhood, and is a permanent disability that affects movement.
Through #WorldCPDay, we would like to raise awareness of CP within the Taekwondo community, and celebrate the achievements of our members.
Last week we caught up with Samantha Carrington, one of our P30 (CP) most awarded para competitors, who has kindly shared her taekwondo story with us all, with the hope to inspire more people with CP to get involved with taekwondo!
“My Taekwondo journey began at the age of 18, I had physiotherapy up until I was 18 and that was about to stop and I wasn’t willing to give up and lose all the achievements I had achieved such as walking and swimming. I spoke to my cousin who was a Taekwondo instructor and my brother also attended his club, I went to watch them at competitions and at training. He said he was willing to give it a go and that we may need to tweak the way we do things along the way and I’ve never looked back.
“I do struggle with certain parts of training such as sparring and kicking drills due to the impact it has on my body afterwards, I have to break techniques down and add steps to ensure I can do them or to keep my balance. There have been times I’ve been tired, achy and in pain but I attend most Taekwondo sessions and put everything I’ve got into the session, as I know after it makes me feel happy and energised. There are some movements within Poomsae that I struggle with on my right hand side as that is my weaker side and balancing on my right foot is at times tricky but I have worked hard to make it look similar or broke combinations down.
“I have achieved so much from Taekwondo, I am a 4th Dan black belt, I am part of GB Para Poomsae squad and I am double world champion and European champion. I have also competed for my club Kang Han and have achieved over 30 medals since I started competing in 2014. In 2018, I was invited to the CPISRA world games in Sant Cugat and completed the Proud Paralympian course.
“Taekwondo is a sport for everyone and the benefits I’ve gained is flexibility, confidence, balance, co-ordination and using both arms, as previously my right hand would just stay at my waist. I’ve been lucky that I have instructors that have invested in me, know my capabilities, when I can be pushed and when I can do better. They have broke patterns down so I can perform and show what I can do”.
If you are living with CP and would like to try taekwondo, why not join Samantha and our other P30 (CP) athletes?
If you would like to find out more about our Para Poomsae programmes, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org