Keira Forsythe: From dog walking accident to European Para-taekwondo Championships

Keira Forsythe
Keira Forsythe had the lower part of her left arm amputated in 2019
European Taekwondo Championships
Dates: 19-22 May Venue: Manchester Regional Arena
Coverage: Watch all four days live on the BBC Sport website and app (UK only)

Keira Forsythe was walking her dog in 2012 when it spotted a squirrel and chased after it.

But the dog took Forsythe with it, leaving her with a broken wrist and "excruciating" pain.

She was later diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome - a condition that causes persistent severe pain - leaving her arm paralysed for almost two years.

She eventually had it amputated and, 10 years later, the 24-year-old is preparing for the European Para-taekwondo Championships.

"I was in the most excruciating pain for four years," says Forsythe. "It ended with me having it off, so now I call this 'Stumpy' and we go everywhere together!"

Forsythe had to change her taekwondo fighting style after losing her arm, but is setting her sights on the Paralympics in Paris 2024.

"I felt like when I first had my arm off it wouldn't affect my fighting much, but you don't realise how much you use that arm in a fight until it's not there," she said.

Despite the adjustments, though, Forsythe admits there are some positives.

"There's no head shots in Para-taekwondo so not kicking people in the head has been an adjustment - but I have enjoyed not being kicked in the head myself, so it does have its perks!" she said.

Looking ahead to the championships - which take place in Manchester from 19-22 May - Forsythe is relishing her underdog status, as one of the lesser-experienced athletes.

"I feel like I'm in a no-pressure situation. I'm still very new to this but I still want to go out there and smash it," she says. "I feel like it's a spicy sport, anything can happen."

Forsythe is from the same area of north Wales as former Olympic champion Jade Jones and has been coached by her grandfather and brother in the past.

"My big dream is Paris 2024. I think I'd be silly not to aim for that, so hopefully this is the first step on that journey," she added.

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