Beth Munro, who won silver in para-taekwondo in Tokyo in 2021, says the prevalence of disability sport in Liverpool is improving, but that there is still work to be done. 

Munro was born with an arm impairment and grew up in Litherland, Sefton. On Merseyside, she played netball, before being scouted by Disability Sport Wales to try her talents in para sports. 

In Cardiff, she initially focused on javelin, before being thrown into taekwondo by coach Anthony Hughes. 

“I’d not heard of para-taekwondo until travelling down to Cardiff,” said Munro. “I did not even know it was going into the Games in Tokyo [2021 marked the sport’s Paralympic debut]. 

“Wales aren’t doing better than England at the moment, but maybe from a promotional, advertising point of view, they’re putting the word out more because like I say, I’d never heard of it”. 

Remembering her experience – or lack of – with disability sport on Merseyside, the thirty-year-old told MerseySportLive: “Having grown up with a disability, I never really saw anything that was advertised. 

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s getting better,” she added. “But years back, when I was growing up, it probably wasn’t as prevalent.  

“But it is getting better; maybe it just needs a bit more.” 

Beth Munro celebrates European Championship gold
Munro celebrates European Championship gold in 2022 (Alamy Images).

Groups such as the Greenbank Sports Academy, Apollo Sports Club, and the Liverpool City Region Active Disability Network offer opportunities for disabled people to take up sports, but there is still plenty more that could be done around the region.   

“That’s always the key word: funding,” said Munro, when asked whether financial reasons were the main culprit for the lack of disability sport opportunities in the region. 

“It’s whether organisations have got the funding there to put on disability sports,” she added. “I know, for example, netball are currently trying to introduce para netball.  

“Definitely in Manchester, they do a session once a month, which I’m hoping to get down to to kind of represent and get involved. 

“If we could get more of that… but then again, they’ve got the funds. I suppose it’s just swings and roundabouts unfortunately with the resources that they’ve got”. 

Munro attributes her sporting start in netball to both her determination and the fact that disability sport was not well publicised at the time. 

“Being the stubborn, independent, determined person I am, I just went into able sports because I was like, ‘I’m gonna give everything a go’.  

“And again, maybe disability sport not quite being prominent in the local area, I just did what I could”. 

Munro says that there were not many hurdles coming up against her concerning sports, and netball clearly came naturally to her. 

“At the end of the match, if someone’s watched me they’ll come up to me and go ‘Oh, my God, you’re so inspirational’. And not to blow my own horn, but I probably play better than some, well, quite a few of the two-handed people. 

“You adapt, you control the ball with one hand, you scoop it in, you release, you run. You just learn the technique, and it just becomes natural. Once it came, I was unstoppable. It was good”. 

Munro has had to pause her netball involvement for now, citing the common injuries players suffer, which would derail her Paralympic bid.  

It’s something she hopes to return to but, for now, her competitive sporting mind is focused on going for Gold in Paris.  

Images used under agreed Alamy license.