Lisa Whiteside thrilled to prove that she too is one of England's boxing greats
The shadow of Nicola Adams has long loomed large over Lisa Whiteside.
But on Saturday in the Gold Coast, the Preston flyweight proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she too is one of England’s greats.
The 32-year-old, born in Chorley, has had to bide her time for far too long – but she was not to be denied at Oxenford Studios this weekend as she brushed Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul to claim the gold medal.
Injuries and Adams have denied Whiteside the big stage in the past – both in Commonwealths and Olympics – but now the stage is all hers.
“I've always been so close to getting on top, so to stand on that podium, it's about more than just winning that Commonwealth Games,” she said.
“I've had to bide my time, I've had to take knocks, I've had to be sat in the shadows and now it's about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I'm number one at the Commonwealth Games.
“There were times when I nearly quit, I'm not going to lie. But because of the backing of my amazing family and my coaches, I'm chuffed that I've been able to prove that all the hard work has been worthwhile.”
Adams turned professional after Rio 2016 but Whiteside by then had already suffered more than her fair share of heartache.
A seven-time national champion and a world silver medallist, Whiteside was desperate for her big break in Brazil two years ago.
But a freak fall after a meal out with her husband left her with a fractured skull and it was back to the drawing board again as Adams stormed to another Olympic gold.
Australia however, has brought about Whiteside's redemption.
“I've been through some tough times. I've had a shoulder operation, a head injury, and I've been in the shadow of Nicola (Adams),” she added.
“No matter how many things people want to throw at me, it just shows my strength and my will-power, and I hope I'm inspiring to young people to not give up on your dreams. If you can keep pushing and believing in yourself you'll get there.”
And against Northern Ireland’s McNaul – she saved her best performance at these Games for last.
She added: “In the semi-final I was too tense. I felt so tired and I'm usually the fittest of the team.
“It was because I was so tense and trying too hard. They key was to enjoy it, and today I was smiling and buzzing and I was walking to the ring thinking, this is my time, and this has been the key to that win.
“I've got six major medals and now I've added another to it. I've got to push on because Tokyo is around the corner and I keep proving myself as the number one.”
npower is the Official Partner of Team England and is giving our athletes the power of support by recording a brand new version of their anthem, Jerusalem. To listen to the track visit npower.com/teamengland