Fencing: McKenzie now eyeing place at Rio games in 2016

Lisa Mckenzie
Lisa Mckenzie
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WHILE athletes up and down the country are gearing up to qualify for London 2012, Colinton fencer Lisa McKenzie admits the year will just be a success for her if she can stay away from the medical room.

The 22-year-old had long been ear-marked as one to watch at the London Olympics, becoming Under-20s British foil champion before claiming silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Melbourne.

However, injury has ended any realistic hopes the Edinburgh University Fencing Club captain has of starring in Britain’s capital as she finally succumbed to a long-standing hip problem.

But all is not lost for McKenzie as she insists that if she can get her body right, then the Rio 2016 Olympics are well and truly in her sights.

“I’ve been injured for a while so I’ve been doing a lot of heavy gym sessions and doing a lot of hard work, but I haven’t been doing any competitions,” said McKenzie, daughter of former Olympic fencer and 1998 Commonwealth gold medallist Don, now her coach.

“I’ve had it for a number of years now. It’s a hip injury but, because that’s injured, I get niggles in my knees and my ankles as well. Because of my injuries I don’t think London 2012 is possible which is why I’m taking such a big rest period at the moment.

“There’s always a chance. It’s a bit of a long shot, but I’m still in training, and I’m still going for 2016 as well. Hopefully everything’s going to be fine.

“This year is all about making sure everything’s back in working order so that when I get back into training I can be at the top of my fitness, so when it comes to planning out 2016 I can do it without worrying about any little niggles. The lessons I’ve learned from this year going into 2016 have been invaluable. I wasn’t ever in this just for 2012.”

Although McKenzie won’t be competing at London 2012, the fencer is set to star at the Games after being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch.

And McKenzie – who will carry the Flame through Edinburgh on June 14 – admits she can’t wait to star under the bright Olympic lights.

“I’m really looking forward to carrying the Olympic Torch,” said McKenzie.

“I’m looking forward to doing it in Edinburgh as all my friends are involved, so they’ll all be there as well.”

n AS the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, Bank of Scotland is bringing the excitement of the Games and Paralympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at bankofscotland.co.uk/paralympicflame