HOCKEY player Nicola White is involved in a race against time to be fit for England’s appearance in the World League finals.
The former Saddleworth Hockey Club player, who is battling to overcome badly torn ankle ligaments, admits she only has an outside chance to be on the plane to New Zealand in mid-November.
Nicola, who was raised in Shaw, 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 recent European Championship bronze-medal winning campaign, 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 in six weeks, but I was still on crutches.
“My rehab is going well but time is not on my side.”
Nicola says she will be disappointed to miss out, but prefers to look at the bigger picture, explaining she needs to be right for 2018.
She explained: “I have to be realistic that time is not on my side and my ankle will only heal as fast as it can.
“I will have to deal with either being selected or not being.
“The main thing is to be ready for 2018 as there is the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast while London hosts the World Cup.”
Nicola, a former pupil at Farrowdale Primary in Shaw, is also on a mission to inspire after being appointed an ambassador for GreaterSport that uses it to promote health initiatives through sport within Greater Manchester.
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.
Nicola has also helped create a hockey legacy in Oldham where there has been a huge revival in the sport on the back of her successful career.
She recalls playing at Saddleworth Hockey Club where there were only two teams at Breezehill School where she had to play with adults from the age of 12.
Saddleworth merged to become Oldham Hockey Club which post Rio has grown hugely and has set up a thriving junior section and even a men’s team. It is based at Newman College.