Erika Kelly was presented with the President’s Sword of Honour to recognise her outstanding contribution to the Isle of Man squad and her achievements at Gold Coast 2018.
The 25 year-old finished in ninth place in the women’s 20km race walk on her Isle of Man debut.
But it wasn’t just her performance in Australia which earned her the award, presented by Isle of Man CGA president Basil Bielich during a short ceremony at the headquarters of Isle of Man Sport.
Erika, who was diagnosed with a genetic eye disease aged 14 which has seen her vision in both eyes deteriorate gradually, leaving her registered visually impaired, was thrilled to receive the sword.
The sword, presented to the individual — or individuals — who have made an outstanding contribution to the team, whether a competitor or a member of the squad’ s support team, was the idea of former long-time IOMCGA president Dursley Stott.
He heard that the Wilkinson Sword company was giving away a limited number of presentation swords to deserving causes and contacted the company with the idea of awarding it to a member of Team Isle of Man who made an outstanding contribution at each Commonwealth Games.
Erika has now been put on IOM Sport Aid’s ‘Target Tokyo’ programme ahead of the 2020 Olympics and along with her partner, local athlete Ollie Lockley, will go away in September for three months of endurance training at Leeds Beckett University.
‘Committing to train in Leeds this autumn is just the latest sacrifice Erika has made to try and achieve her sporting ambitions,’ said Mr Bielich.
‘She is a deserving recipient of the President’ s Award, not just for her outstanding performances but because she stood out as part of a team with her enthusiasm. She always helped team-mates with a word of encouragement and even played the harp at our fundraising dinner. She played a part in the Gold Coast experience in so many ways.’