Dalziel High pupil Michelle Boyle picked up valuable experience as she earned silver at the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games in Sheffield.
The 17-year-old judoka won three of her four matches at +70kg in the round-robin format, only losing to Brazil’s Isadora Pereira, one of a Brazilian contingent invited in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics, who eventually won gold.
And Boyle, who represented Britain at the European Youth Olympic Festival earlier this summer, believes there is plenty of optimism for the future despite the disappointment of failing to win gold.
She said: “It ’s still a medal and that is what you want to try and go home with, I wanted to win gold but unfortunately you can’t win all the time.
“I thought I should have done better against the Brazilian girl but I’m still very happy with my performances.
“It was a really tricky match against the Brazilian and at first I was a bit nervous because you are competing on one mat in front of a crowd.”
And, although Boyle has had the experience of competing internationally at a multi-sport event before, she insists this latest Games experience was just an invaluable to an aspiring young athlete like herself.
She said: “There was a lot of attention around us but I have some experience in front of big crowds because I’ve been to the Europeans.
“I’m going to Newcastle next and then to Northern Ireland for competitions and the British Championships are coming up where I want to get the gold.
“But I need to improve my stamina. This experience is good for me and a lot of others so when we are next on the mat we can remember the good things we did.”
The Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, was held in venues across Sheffield from 12-15 September 2013. Visit www.2013schoolgames.com for more information.