Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) – It was not long ago that English boxer Lisa Whiteside thought that she might have to quit the sport after she fractured her skull in a freak fall.
Now the 32-year-old former police officer is a Commonwealth Games medallist with at least a bronze following victory on Wednesday.
The flyweight fighter, who was forced out of boxing for seven months following the accident in 2015, has no ill effects from the serious injury.
But it was not always like that and she had to almost re-learn all over again how to box with her balance and speed both affected initially.
“A year and a half, two years ago I could have given up,” Whiteside said following her split-points decision victory over Pinki Rani of India in the Commonwealth Games quarter-finals on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“But instead I had the strength and the willpower and the support and backing from family and friends, and that pushed me.
“It was my goal to get back here and get to this event so it’s just amazing really.”
Following that potentially career-ending injury, Whiteside returned to boxing towards the end of 2015, but she missed the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The burning disappointment from that made her even more determined to make her mark on her Commonwealth debut.
Whiteside, a world championship silver medallist in 2014, said: “I think a lot of people would have quit for what I had to go through and endure to get back to where I am now.
“It took a long, long time to get my timing back, my speed back, issues with my balance.
“Absolutely fantastic now, I’m in the best shape of my life.”
Whiteside, part of a strong English men’s and women’s boxing team at the Gold Coast, faces Australia’s Taylah Robertson in Friday’s semi-finals.
A kind draw, giving the home boxer a bye, meant that Robertson went straight into the semis.
The loser takes home a bronze and the winner goes into the final.