Athlete Ciara on RTE's Underdogs

CONOR WILLIAM O'BRIEN

Published 20/11/2013 | 05:22

Ciara Staunton in action.

WICKLOW wheelchair-bound athlete Ciara Staunton will feature in an RTE documentary 'The Underdogs' tonight (Wednesday, November 20).

Wicklow wheelchair-bound athlete Ciara Staunton will feature in an RTE documentary 'The Underdogs' tonight (Wednesday, November 20).

'The Underdogs' charts the stories of some of the unsung heroes of Irish sport, triumphing against the odds to overcome their disabilities and disadvantages.

Ciara – who's been living in Baltinglass for the last decade – is one of only two female members of the Irish wheelchair rugby team. She has been paralysed since an accident in 2007.

'A tree fell on my car. I was driving home from my brother's house in Castledermot. I was only about five or 10 minutes from home,' she said of the tragic event.

'What apparently happened was the tree came down right on the roof of the car, threw me in to the back seat, however the tree came down and snapped my neck and that was that.'

Determined to continue living life to the full, Ciara became involved with the team as soon as she left rehab. The documentary will chronicle their bid to qualify for the European Championships as they come up against favoured opponents in the Netherlands, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Despite being only one of two girls in the team, Ciara insists that she is not afforded any special treatment, getting things even tougher than her male teammates!

'We're not treated like princesses!,' she says. 'If anything we probably get treated worse by the lads!

'Lots of abuse, lots of innuendo. There are no allowances, if I have the ball in my lap, the opposing team, male or female, will hit me just as hard!'

In a further demonstration of her character and determination, Ciara completed the Dublin City Marathon this year (the only wheelchair-bound lady to do so) in a time of three hours 26 minutes.

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