Belfast Telegraph

Relatively Speaking: Sporty siblings Luke and Beth Carson

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

Gymnast Luke Carson will be representing Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, though his sister, swimmer Beth Carson, missed out on qualifying due to injury. Both competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and are the children of Dr Michael and Gillie Carson from Lisburn. They also have a brother, Christopher (27)

Name: Luke Carson

Age: 24

Occupation: Gymnast

Relationship to Beth: Brother

Some people in the sport thought that I definitely would not be able to compete in the Commonwealth Games after an accident I had last October in which I broke my leg again. Others even told me that my career was over for good, but thanks to my fantastic surgeon, Professor Faris Haddad, I ended up having a titanium rod drilled down through my left knee into my tibia to stabilise the splintered bone.

I was supported at the hospital in London and afterwards by my mum and long-term girlfriend, Hannah Napier, and was encouraged to walk quite quickly afterwards as the pressure would help the bones set.

The pain of it all was very intense, I've never experienced anything like it before and still have to cope with it, in and out of the gym.

Now at Glasgow, I'll be pushing not only to get into the final but for medals as well.

Injury is just one of the ups and downs that Beth and I have to cope with in sports and it's something that we both can support one another with.

At one point, within three and a half months, all three of us siblings had to have surgery due to sports – Beth broke her ankle and our older brother Christopher was injured playing American Football in England.

Beth and I are very close and speak every day, just to keep in touch as I have been living outside London for several years now and she's based in Dublin.

I can get quite stressed and she's good at calming me down and keeping me focussed and level-headed. She was with me in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and that made it extra special. Competing at such a major event so far away from home is quite surreal but having your sister there somehow made it more normal.

It's so disappointing that she won't be at the games with me, as she put so much effort into getting fit. Beth puts on a brave face, but I can see it in her eyes that she's really feeling it."

Name: Beth Carson

Age: 22

Occupation: Student and swimmer

Relationship to Luke: Sister

I suppose I was Luke's wee shadow when we were young as I just used to follow him around everywhere. We used to do everything together as we were so close in age.

We talk all the time on the social media app WhatsApp – we even have a family WhatsApp group so we can all keep up with one another. As a person, he's quite confident and a bit of a wag really – he's not afraid to stand out from the crowd!

We all ended up doing gymnastics as children as Luke was so hyper that mum brought us all along.

I got into swimming by accident as I took part in a schools swimming gala and somebody spotted me and suggested that I should get involved at club level.

I broke my ankle in two places at the end of last December when I missed the last two steps coming down some stairs.

For such a small thing, it ended up having such a big outcome. I underwent surgery at the end of December/early January and two weeks later I got back into the pool. But unfortunately the games qualifying period opened when I was having my surgery. As I had the five race times needed to qualify before that, I had been a sure thing, but life gets in the way and I just didn't have enough time to recuperate.

It was the hope of qualifying for the games that drove my recovery and the thing is that I'm now at the fittest I've ever been.

It wasn't to be a fairytale ending, unfortunately, and I'm really disappointed that I didn't get the opportunity to swim at Glasgow. I won't even be able to see Luke compete as I'm still training for a competition in Sheffield next month.

Competing in the Delhi games was such an out-of-this world experience, and to turn around and have your brother standing there was brilliant.

After Delhi, I was so looking forward to the next games as it was such an amazing experience, but I wish Luke all the best."

Success in their sights ...

  • Luke will be competing in the men's parallel bars and pommel horse individual events at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and you can follow his progress on www.nicgc.org/glasgow-2014/ team-ni/. He just missed out on qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics, but hopes to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio
  • Beth has made a successful return to form following her ankle injury and last weekend became the Irish women's champion in the 200m freestyle in Dublin and earlier achieved a personal best time in the 50m freestyle in Manchester. She also hopes to compete in Rio and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast City, Australia

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