RAISING her arms in a victory salute to mark a gold medal winning performance, Michelle Enslin has claimed the ultimate title at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii for her age group category. The Port Elizabeth athlete from Sardinia Bay gained a slot by winning her age group category at the African Championships in the Bay in April this year. This after a near death experience in 2007, when she decided to start training for the Ironman championships. “The only problem was, I could not swim. I went for swimming lessons with Kyle Main and that’s how my Ironman journey started in 2008. I never imagined that I would come this far,” Enslin said. Overcoming her fear of swimming, she competed head-on with many qualified athletes across the world and was crowned as the 2018 Isuzu Ironman 70.3 world champion for her age category on home soil in September this year.After winning numerous Ironman titles and finally competing in Hawaii in 2011 and again in 2017, she finally claimed a huge win this year. Born and bred in Mthatha, she completed her schooling in East London at Cambridge High and her tertiary education at the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University).“I have always played sport on a competitive level and still try to remain active – not only for the love of the sport, but for my health as well.”Having had various health conditions in 2014 and 2015, she was unable to compete in the Ironman championships for three years.“I’ve had hip repairs, a broken foot and a couple of months after that, I slipped my disc. So, the last two years of my life and me attaining these world titles have been amazing and insane. I’m truly grateful.”Enslin believes that kindness and compassion for others are one of the most important values.“To be positive and enjoy every single second, is what makes life worthwhile. Laughing a lot and acknowledging your loved ones daily, are of vital importance. “I am eternally grateful for the people and friends in my life who support and believe in me on a daily basis.”The rising athlete is determined to claim more Ironman titles under her belt and to ensure that every obstacle will be a motivation for achieving greatness.