Preston boxer Lisa Whiteside is hoping 2013 is the year that her dreams are finally realised.
The 27-year-old policewoman is one of the finest exponents of her art in the world.
But she was denied the chance of competing for a gold medal in the London Games last year because her favoured weight category of 57kg was not included on the Olympic list.
However, such was the success and popularity of women’s boxing at the 2012 Games – the first time it has ever been staged at an Olympics – the IOC is expected to announce in the coming months that they will increase the number of weight categories in time for the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
It could well mean Whiteside will get her shot at Olympic glory in 2016.
And, as the current world No.2-ranked boxer in her weight category, she will be in with a great chance of following in the footsteps of Team GB golden girl Nicola Adams, who became the first woman in history to win Olympic boxing gold in London.
If the IOC gives the green light, it will also mean the Preston boxer is a certainty for a place on Team GB’s performance squad as a full-time athlete.
Indeed, it is Whiteside’s wish to take a break from her role in the police force to concentrate fully on her boxing career.
She is hoping to attract sponsorship now so that she can turn full-time immediately in preparation for the European Championships, in Dublin, where she is hoping to go one better than she did last time when she missed out on a gold medal by a single point.
Whiteside told the Evening Post: “Team GB’s performance director Rob McCracken has already guaranteed me a place on the team as a full-time, fully-funded athlete if they announce that my weight category will be included for the next Olympics.
“He’s guaranteed me that because of what I have achieved. I am ranked No.2 in the world, I am a European silver medallist, I won a bronze medal at the World Championships.
“Rob has already said I can train at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield any time I like but because I am not on the Olympic performance squad, I can’t get lottery funding.
“It would be great if I could get sponsorship in the meantime so I could turn full-time now. It would allow me to train three times a day and I would be able to travel to get sparring partners.
“I would be able to go to all the competitions – it’s difficult at the moment to get time off work and be able to train like a full-time athlete.”
One problem Whiteside is faced with at the moment is that there is nobody in this country at her level, so she struggles to find people to box against – a fact underlined at the recent National Championships in Cannock where she only had one person to defeat to claim her fourth national title.
Whiteside has just returned from winning a tournament in Serbia, where she captained the English team.
If you are interested in sponsoring Whiteside then please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.