Taekwondo star Michele Cavallin came home from the European Championships with a gold medal round her neck.
The 29-year-old was part of the England squad that beat two Russian teams to claim the tag team sparring crown in the event which took place over the weekend of March 28 in Davos, Switzerland.
Despite suffering from a sinus infection, the 4th dan black belt from Eastbourne, overcame illness and was delighted to have something to show for her efforts.
“It was a really tough weekend,” she said.
“Mentally, because I knew I wasn’t ready and physically as I felt quite drained and poorly.
“It’s nice to have something to take home.”
Cavallin arrived at the championships on the back of a solid week of competing at the Causeway School’s REAL learning week and , after rushing to the airport on the Friday afternoon, wasted no time in getting back in to action.
Competing in patterns, point stop sparring and continuous sparring events, she made a good account of herself in a raucous atmosphere.
Fighters from all over the world descended on the event with Argentina, Russia, Australia and Norway all represented.
Cavallin racked up a convincing 10-2 victory over her Russian opponent in her first bout but just lost out to Scottish captain Joanne Duncan 6-5.
Duncan eventually went on to win the competition.
With no time to rest, Cavallin was back the following day to take her gold medal.
And her most recent medal is just one in a long line of recent successes.
Cavallin works as a secondary school teacher in Lewes, and along side her students, travelled to Worcester for the English Championships on March 16.
She took gold in the ladies light heavyweight sparring competition, while Andrew Simpson claimed bronze in the men’s welterweight blue belt sparring.
All of her students put on a good showing as well, with all of them arriving home with a trophy in tow.
Patrick Howes took gold in the men’s lightweight blue belts and Sam Monson won silver in cadet green belts.
Katie Humphries also took bronze in the girls green belts.
“I’m so proud of my students,” Cavallin added.
“I’m really pleased that my competing bug is rubbing off on them!”
Cavallin shows no sign in letting up in her hunt for success in the sport.
As an athlete who took up taekwondo at the age of 15, she went from a beginner to British Champion in just 10 years.
She also reached the final of the World Championships last year.
She owes a lot of her success to the guidance of Eastbourne based trainer Ken James, a 6th dan black belt.
She plans to continue training, although an appearance at the 2016 Olympics is unlikely.