Claire Taggart's Blog on the ParalympicsGB Team Launch

I got the 9:10am flight from Belfast City to Heathrow so it meant leaving the house at 7am. By the time we got through security and into departures it was almost time to get on the plane. Dad had breakfast on the plane but I couldn’t face cooked breakfast at that time!

We arrived into Heathrow early and got the 11am Heathrow Express to Paddington. *Top Tip – If you use a wheelchair, rather than use a kiosk, go to the counter with staff at it as you will get a discounted rate*

Once we got to Paddington, we jumped on the 148 bus to St Thomas Hospital and from there is was only a 2 minute walk to our hotel, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. We checked in and went for lunch which was a huge buffet. After lunch I had some time before we were due for a team debrief so I went to do some kit swapping for my dad, he had some items which were to small. The adidas staff were brilliant and so lovely, sorting any issues quickly.

Then it was time for our team debrief from the previous week, we had hosted the Spanish BC1/2 team for a test event. We won all 4 matches we played and it was a great experience and good to get match play close to Rio. This meeting lasted around an hour, then it was time for media interviews.

We each got a slip of paper for who we were to meet, I had Sportsbeat, C4 Images and BBC. The BBC interview was fun and with the lovely Elizabeth Hudson who I had met at SPOTY 2015. Whilst at SPOTY, myself, Jo Butterfield (club thrower) and Sophie Hahn (T38 Sprinter) enlisted Elizabeth’s help to try and find Niall Horan but he had left, not before I got a selfie with him earlier in the evening.

Prior to my TV interview, Carol (Joshua’s mum) did my hair in french plaits ready for the night ahead, so it was time for a quick wash and change into formal wear ready for our Team Launch Dinner.

We had a great night at the dinner with plenty of inspiring speeches from Rio 2016 Chef De Mission, Penny Briscoe and it was very well hosted by Ade Adepitan. We watched the new promotional videos for Rio 2016 which are amazing, but again boccia is missed out.

After this we had 3 courses which were delicious and very filling, with the evening culminating in good luck messages from some well known faces and Adam Hills from the Last Leg providing some Rio 2016 comedy. The evenings finale was a Brazilian drumming band which was very loud and made those of us with CP and similar conditions jump, but in all it was great fun.