Alice Tai storms to Commonwealth gold months after learning to walk again

Alice Tai said winning her second Commonwealth Games gold medal was ‘so special’ – only months after learning how to walk again.

Tai stormed to victory in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S8 final, clocking 1:13:64 to win by more than four seconds.

An emotional Tai was forced to miss the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games due to surgery and then had part of her leg amputated in January.

She said after her impressive victory: “It’s a bit surreal.

“I started and ended last season with surgery and I had to pull out of Tokyo.

“I then had an amputation in January. I have been learning to walk again this year. Getting back in the pool was just a bit of fun – I’ve missed swimming.

“I can’t even believe that I’m in Team England. There was a time where me and my coach were like it’s not even worth trying as I’m not going to make it.

“I saw the New Zealand girl when I came off the turn and I was like whoa, not in front of a home crowd and I just swam for my life pretty much.

So happy

“I can’t believe that just happened. I’m trying hard not to cry but I think it’s going to hit me on the podium.”

Tai said she is now looking forward to pushing on with her career and is focusing on Paris 2024. 

As for what her initial reaction was when she saw the scoreboard and first next to her name, Tai said: “Insanity.

“First of all I just wanted to cry and then I saw my time and for where I am in training – I am not as fit as I should be – I am so happy with that.

“I am so excited to start and build off it and see what I can do next season and into Paris. 

“I think everything I have done this season – I got a silver at the world champs a couple of months ago – it means so much more. 

“I have achieved a lot in my career but I have been through so much in the past 12 months.

“To come out on top, be back doing what I love and swimming times I’m happy with despite everything is so special and I’m excited to get back into training in September.”