Time for some Pompey pride on the world stage

Nicole Mackenzie. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132314-4)
Nicole Mackenzie. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132314-4)
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It’s a year on from the national outpouring of emotion at the British success at the Olympics and Paralympics.

Now it’s time for some real Pompey pride at our latest star to sensationally represent the city on the world stage.

Nicole Mackenzie knows a thing or two about defying the odds.

The Portsmouth Northsea starlet amazingly emerged at the World Transplant Games in 2011 – just two years after a transplant following kidney failure at the age of three.

Losing a litre of blood and undergoing surgery ahead of the event in Sweden couldn’t stop the fighter winning four medals in Gothenburg.

It was an emotional tale which spoke of Mackenzie’s gritty resolve and inspired huge admiration at the 15-year-old’s success.

Now, two years on, she’s at it again.

We all thought Mackenzie’s achievements in Gothenburg were special.

That was until the Purbrook Park School student took things to a whole new level at the world games in South Africa this month.

Mackenzie knew the competition was going to be tough in Durban.

‘I would have been happy with one gold going out there,’ she admitted.

She won seven, though, and took seven championship records in the process.

To top it off, she was named as the top junior girl at the Games.

It’s a jaw-dropping achievement from the girl who rises at 5am in the morning and trains six times a week for up to four hours a day.

Oh, and then there’s her football career she still enjoys with local outfit Widbrook United.

Her success didn’t prove plain-sailing, however, as she went straight from South Africa to Sheffield for the British Transplant Games.

Mackenzie was laid low with a bout of shingles on her return from world victory.

‘Every time I won in South Africa I got a bunch of flowers,’ she explained.

‘Where I had seven bunches in my room there were ants everywhere.

‘I thought it was ant bites – but it turned out to be shingles!’

That illness should have made the Sheffield event a write off for Mackenzie. She instead picked up another four gold medals in the pool at Ponds Forge.

We like a tale about triumph against adversity around these parts.

But this little fighter is taking it into the stratosphere.

Two years ago, after her world success, The News Sports Awards sportswoman of the year cut a diminutive figure.

Now, she is beginning to blossom into a young lady of real sporting promise.

Her progress into Northsea’s silver squad shows that.

She is doing so without the same funding open to our Olympians and Paralympians last year.

Luckily, the likes of Havant Borough Sports Association, her school and hospital’s patient association ensured her incredible record-breaking feats became a reality.

You can list the sporting stars from the area who went on to achieve glory on the world stage against the odds.

But it’s time for the likes of Katy Sexton, Livvy Breen, Tony Oakey, Rob Hayles and Michael East to make room for another very special talent in the shape of Nicole Mackenzie.