Week 234 (7 - 13 April)
At just eight years old, Maisie Catt might seem like an unlikely source of inspiration. However, just six weeks into her taekwondo journey, Maisie’s story has touched hearts all over the world.
After watching her younger brother, Maisie convinced her mother, Sharon, to let her join a class at the Premier Taekwondo club in Birkby, Huddersfield.
Taking up a combat sport, albeit one that inspires peace, is particularly apt for Maisie. At just ten months old, she had to fight for her life after she was tragically diagnosed with meningitis, forcing her to have both legs amputated and replaced with prosthetic limbs.
Whilst Paralympic glory is not Maisie’s focus, her natural talent has already caught national attention and she has been accepted onto the Great Britain Taekwondo Para-Poomsae Squad. However, this amazing opportunity to learn from elite level coaches is merely the cherry on top of Maisie’s experience with her new found passion.
Speaking to BBC News, Maisie’s reasoning for taking up the sport seemed so simple:
“I just wanted to try it, I wanted to be like him (her brother).”
However, the power of Maisie’s story, highlighting sport’s ability to inspire, to bring hope, and to change lives, has resonated in far wider circles. She is a role model for the sport, and her determination and passion will serve as motivation for young people with and without impairments across the globe.
Maisie’s mother, Sharon, has shown great support for her daughter’s new passion:
“My first thought was ‘oh right’ but she has been welcomed in and is the first disabled person to take part at the club which really surprised us. She is determined and fiercely independent. She doesn’t understand why other people like her haven’t done things like her.
“Whatever she wants to do, if she sets her mind to it, there’s no stopping her.”
For demonstrating that any perceived barriers in sport can be overcome, and acting as an inspiration to so many people round the world, Maisie Catt is JTA Communicator of the Week.
Photo: Maisie Catt