A PARALYMPIC gold medallist encouraged people of all abilities to take part in sport as she helped to open a new centre.

Alice Tai, 17, helped to unveil BH Live Active in Corfe Mullen, which has re-opened following a 'substantial investment programme' by BH Live, after the social enterprise and venue operator acquired the lease at the start of the year.

Visitors will be able to make use of the facilities which include the latest, high-tech gym and studio equipment, the full Les Mills group fitness class programme and a 23-metre swimming pool.

Alice, who went to Bournemouth Collegiate School, was born with bilateral talipes, which is commonly known as club foot, and has had numerous operations, which means that she is now able to walk but her ankles are fused at a 90-degree angle.

Classified as a disability swimmer, Alice competed in five events at Rio 2016 and won Gold in the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay and an individual Bronze medal in the Women's S10 100m Backstroke.

Speaking at the opening of BH Live Active in Corfe Mullen, she said: "It’s great to see the pool now ready for the whole community to use with a programme to encourage lots more people to get into the water.

"Swimming has opened up so many opportunities for me to compete and travel the world, thanks to the efforts of my parents to get me swimming when I was only six.

"As we lived so close to the sea, they wanted to make sure I was safe in the water. I loved the being in the water and didn’t feel at a disadvantage at all.

"To be able to go on to compete on the world stage doing something I love is a massive bonus and if more public facilities like this can get more people into the water, then I think that’s just brilliant."

Alice also met James Brown and James Davies, who work as recreation assistants at the centre.

She spoke to Daily Echo in back in September about her pride at being selected for Rio 2016 before adding: "It was amazing. To come away with two medals at my first Paralympics – I couldn’t have asked for much more."