HOCKEY player Nicola White lost a race against time to regain fitness for England’s appearance in the World League finals.
Nicola, who was a member of Great Britain’s Olympic Games gold medal winning team, had been battling to overcome badly torn ankle ligaments.
Shaw-raised Nicola initially hoped to be back in action in six weeks but has been out for double that time.
It is the most serious injury Nicola, who missed England’s European Championship bronze-medal winning campaign this summer, has sustained.
She said: “I have never had an impact injury like this before and didn’t appreciate the time it would take and what others have gone through.
“I was hoping to be back playing in six weeks, but I was still in crutches when the Euros began so it made missing them less painful as I knew there was no way I could have played.”
Nicola was disappointed to miss out again for the final of the World League, especially as she had never visited New Zealand, but prefers to look at the bigger picture explaining she needs to be right for 2018.
She explained: “I was realistic that time was not on my side and my ankle will only heal as fast as it can.
“The main thing is to be ready for 2018 which is a big year as there is the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast while London hosts the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, Nicola, a former pupil at Farrowdale Primary, Shaw, is on a mission to inspire after being appointed an ambassador for GreaterSport that uses it to promote health initiatives through sport.
Since helping Great Britain win gold at the Olympic Games last year, Nicola has been busy visiting local schools helping to create a legacy after Rio.
She said: “I am proud to be an ambassador in the city in which I grew up.
“I am involved in elite sport, but this is about mass participation.
“And rather than simply visiting schools, this will involve helping with campaigns and sporting initiatives.”
One of her first functions was to attend the launch of the Daily Mile with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham at St Teresa’s School, Salford.
It is a national initiative that encourages schools to take part in a 15-minute run, jog or walk within the school day, an activity proven to have mental and physical benefits.
It is hoped to get 40,000 children involved in Greater Manchester.