Alice Tai has been forced to pull out of next month’s Tokyo Paralympics due to an elbow injury.

The news has come as a bitter blow to the 22-year-old swimmer, who was expected to challenge for multiple medals at her second Games.

Tai said: “Competing at Tokyo 2020 has been my main goal for the last five years, so it’s devastating that I’ll be missing the Games later this year.

2016 Rio Paralympic Games – Day Nine
Alice Tai (left) won her first Paralympic medal in Rio (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“The decision to withdraw was extremely difficult to accept but my health is ultimately more important than competing.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with an incredible core team who exhausted all conservative treatments to keep me in the pool. It’s comforting to know there was nothing more that could’ve been done.”

Tai made her Paralympic debut in Rio where she claimed a gold medal in the women’s 34pts 4x100m medley relay, and S10 100m backstroke bronze.

But she truly announced herself on the world stage in 2019 when she won an incredible seven gold medals at the IPC World Para-swimming Championships in London.

Tai has battled the elbow injury during lockdown and attempted to make a comeback at the British Para-Swimming International meet in April.

British Para-Swimming performance director Chris Furber said: “It’s been a cruel decision for Alice to face, however I have every confidence she has the determination to bounce back from this setback and will go onto achieve further success at major meets over the next few years on the journey to Paris 2024.”