Glenrothes fencer Chloe Dickson rose off her sick bed to defy the odds and become the British champion.
Dickson (22) had been laid low in the build up to the British individual senior national championships but she summoned the strength to not only battle her illness, but also her other competitors, to win the prestigious accolade for the very first time.
The Edinburgh University student admitted things were “touch and go” after lying in seventh placed after the first round, but she rallied back to win gold and beat her opponent who had knocked her out of Birmingham Senior Open just a few weeks before.
She told the Gazette: “It was weird, I was ill on the day and felt drained and exhausted but I just tried to remain focused.
I certainly wasn’t able to jump around and celebrate at the end.
“Personally, my game is more mental than physical. For me, it’s about having a good sense of timing and having that mental strength inside you.
“I knew it was going to be tough, I’ve always believed I could do it but I’ve never medalled previously, the best I had done was finish fifth.
“It’s always been a case of getting beat by someone I should be able to beat.
"I was really happy to fence the winner of the semi-finals. She had beat me at Birmingham but I just knew I needed to perform. It was becoming a bit of a curse this tournament so I’m glad to have broken it.”
Dad Alan McCallum, a former fencer himself, said family and friends are proud of her achievements and Chloe said mum Joanne, whom she works alongside at the Balgonie Arms pub in Coaltown, makes them all aware of her daughter’s success even if she is a little reticent to shout about it herself.
It’s been another impressive season for Dickson who has won numerous awards both individually and as part of her university team, including the women’s foil title for the second successive year at the British University & College Championships and she has been chosen to take over as the women’s captain.
In honour of her successful career to date she was named Sports Personality of the Decade at the Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sports Council awards in March.
Dickson said: “It was so surprising, I didn’t know that they had this award. I was runner-up for the senior award so I was a bit disappointed but to be selected from all the previous winners was lovely.”
Dickson has her sights set on more success with internationals coming up in May. She won’t be competing at the European Championships due to what she says is down to “politics” in the selection process.
She added: “Considering I am ranked second in the UK it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth. Last week I put three of the girls out who were selected before me so it was nice to do that. There are still a few internationals to go so that is what I’m focusing on.”
Chloe’s dad Alan said: “It’s taken ten years of hard work and lots of commitment but she’s done it. It was a great achievement and her friends and family are so proud.”