World Youth Championship bronze medallist Catherine Reid underwent surgery earlier this year after being sidelined by severe knee pain.
The sprinter managed to fund the surgery to lower her left knee cap through an online appeal which topped its £8,500 target within four days.
Now with SMP Partners, e-Gaming firm Newfield and Isle of Man Sport Aid helping to meet the costs of intensive rehab, Catherine is on schedule to make a full recovery, with the hope of getting back on the athletics track in 2019.
Catherine, who is part of the Sport Aid programme, formed an affiliation with SMP Partners and Newfield through her involvement with the launch of the Isle of Man Sport Aid Academy in 2015, an initiative sponsored by the two firms, and the relationship has continued since.
She said: ‘Both firms have been a wonderful supporter to myself and a number of Manx athletes over the years and their sponsorship is really invaluable. It’s naturally been a frustrating time and when the injury kept flaring up, the pain and discomfort meant I ended up returning to the Island from my athletics scholarship in the US. The relief when I finally received a diagnosis was obvious because I then knew what the problem was, that I needed surgery and allowed me to start setting goals again.’
The operation to lower her kneecap and realign her tendon was carried out in August.
Explaining the injury, Catherine added: ‘Basically, my left kneecap was abnormally high and not aligned properly. I just knew there was something wrong but once we knew the problem, I could get over it. I think I’m quite a headstrong person so it has all been about staying positive and being able to see that light at the end of the tunnel. Four months more out of action is a small price to pay.’
Catherine has been overwhelmed by the support: ‘Firstly, the backing on the crowdfunding website (including from professional sprinter Adam Gemili and hurdler Jack Green) just blew me away. It’s been a while since I’ve delivered a performance that I personally think is worthy of such attention so for people to show their faith in me is so heartening.
‘Then for SMP Partners, Newfield and Isle of Man Sport to step forward and fund my rehabilitation, physio, strength and conditioning work has just been amazing. I am so grateful.’
Catherine first came to prominence with success at the 2015 Island Games before claiming bronze at the IAAF World Youth Championships later that year.
While she is cautious not to rush her recovery, the 20-year-old is hoping to return to the track in the New Year: ‘I am now starting biking and rowing, working towards the base fitness I need for when I am ready to get back onto the track.
‘The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may seem unrealistic right now but I have to set myself immediate targets, as well as looking ahead and hoping to qualify for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.’
Catherine was one of the speakers at the latest Sport Aid Academy workshop where she shared her experiences, both positive and negative, with young sportspeople and helped the athletes with nutrition advice.
SMP Partners’ Managing Director Mark Denton said: ‘We pride ourselves on our involvement with the Island’s community and local sports initiatives and we are glad to be helping Catherine on her road to recovery.
‘As one of the Island’s talented youngsters who has benefited from the Sport Aid programme, it has been wonderful to see Catherine compete at such a high level.’
Director at Newfield Mark Reynolds added: ‘Catherine has been such a fantastic ambassador of the sport aid programme, and committed time to those in the next generation that we felt it was important to help her have the best chance possible of a successful recovery. To take time out from such an intensive period of rehabilitation to speak to others coming through the programme speaks volumes for her character.
‘Isle of Man sporting talent is exceptional and Catherine is a perfect example of that. We are encouraged at her progress and thrilled she has come back to the Academy to help young people at such an important stage of their journey.’