All-action grandmother Ede Smith capped a remarkable year by winning a world cup medal in her beloved karate last week.
Ede, christened Ninja Nan by her clubmates, followed up her two regional gold medals and a pair of British bronzes last year by winning a bronze medal at the GKR World Cup at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
The 72-year-old only took up the martial art 14 months ago, but got her shot at a world medal thanks to her performance at the British Championships.
She spent months training for the World Cup, and as the departure day arrived, the anticipation almost got to unflappable Ede.
She said: “When I got on the train on Thursday I started to get nervous because it had been building up for a while and then suddenly I realised I was on my way.
“But when I went into the arena to do my bit, I was quite calm. The atmosphere was electric in there; it was fantastic.
“Then when they told me I got my bronze I went to pieces!”
The global championships attracted competitors from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States,
Lining up as the oldest competitor in the veterans’ category, and cheered on by two former instructors and her sister Barbara, the Great Dalby gran took bronze in the kumite (sparring) discipline.
Moving on to the kata competition, Ede had to repeat her patterns routine after a tie, and eventually missed out by just half-a-point. But there were no regrets.
“I can only be as good at kata as my knees allow on the day,” she added.
“I can’t think of any better way to end the year, it’s been absolutely fantastic. I don’t think I shall ever have another one like it.”
The world championships capped an incredible month for the former Army PTI instructor who achieved her blue belt and was then named Sportswoman of the Year at the Melton Times Sports Awards.
The plaudits and praise have increased, but while Ede appreciates them, she is still not entirely sure what all the fuss is about.
“When we strolled back to the hotel after I got my medal there was a group of New Zealanders sitting outside and they all got up and clapped when I walked through.
“It always takes me by surprise. I know what I’ve achieved but I don’t expect other people to be interested.
“To win the Sportswoman of the Year was the biggest surprise of my life.”
But perhaps the most satisfying moment was sharing her achievements with her GKR clubmates who presented her with a bouquet in exchange for a peak at the medal.
“It was for my dojos,” she said. “My teachers are brilliant and everyone there has helped me.
“I went and won it, but the medal was for all of us.”