Shocked Mackenzie is honoured

Nicole Mackenzie. Picture: Sarah Standing (14841-6619)
Nicole Mackenzie. Picture: Sarah Standing (14841-6619)
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She may have picked up a phenomenal seven gold medals at the World Transplant Games.

But Nicole Mackenzie was still shocked her success saw her pick up the award for outstanding contribution to disabled sport at The News 2013 Sports Awards.

And that meant a busy night’s work for the Portsmouth Northsea swim star.

Mackenzie had to fit her attendance at the gala evening around her training regime at Northsea.

And then there is the small matter of revising for her GCSE exams later this year.

Cramming for that period followed on from being at Fratton Park to pick up her award.

The 15-year-old spoke of her surprise at being named the winner from a high-calibre field.

Mackenzie admitted it was a huge honour for her to be acknowledged.

She said: ‘It’s the second title I’ve picked up the Sports Awards.

‘It’s amazing and I must admit I wasn’t expecting it at all.

‘There were a lot of good athletes at the awards.

‘And there were a lot of strong people in my category, especially.

‘It was really good to pick it up from the footballers, too.

‘It’s been busy with my GCSEs to think about.

‘As soon as I went home from the Sports Awards I had to revise!

‘And before the awards I was training, so there is a lot to fit in. My hair was still drying when I picked up the award!

‘There are a lot of hours with everything that is going on.’

Mackenzie’s international success in South Africa was followed by another gold rush at the British Transplant Games in Sheffield.

That saw four golds arrive – despite being laid low by shingles on her returnfrom the worlds.

Now there is the European Championships to prepare for later this year, along with the British Championships in a frenetic period for the 16-year-old.

Mackenzie said: ‘I picked up shingles when I was at the Games.

‘I was thinking that I may not be able to compete at the British Championships after that.

‘If I’d got it any later I wouldn’t have been able to go but it was okay in the end.

‘Now I’m going to compete at the European Championships in Portugal later this year.

‘That comes in August but before that there is the British Championships.

‘They are really close together, about a week apart, so it’s going to be a busy time for me.’