OLYMPIANS Glen Robinson and Chloe Wilcox realised a lifetime ambition as England enjoyed double gold medal joy at the Commonwealth Water Polo Championships in Aberdeen.
England men’s team defeated South Africa, New Zealand, Wales, Scotland, Singapore and Malta in the group stages before repeating the trick against the Maltese in the final, winning 16-9.
After suffering a group defeat to Canada, England’s women gained revenge in the final as they staved off a late Canadian comeback to triumph 10-9.
Robinson and Wilcox hold a long association having started out together at Kendal Amateur Swimming Club before ascending the water polo ranks and representing Great Britain at London 2012.
Kendal’s Robinson – who has played professional water polo for Rapid Bucharest in Romania and SV Wurzburg 05 in Germany – joined the sport’s high-performance headquarters in Manchester in 2007.
And while nothing can surpass competing at the Olympic Games two years ago, the 25-year-old insists gold at the Commonwealth Championships ranks highly.
“Winning gold was amazing and I’m very proud to do so. Seven years of hard work and I’ve finally got something to show for it,” he said.
“The fact Chloe and I both went away and came back with gold is like closure, it’s a relief after wanting something so badly for so long.
“We both got it together on the same day and in the same tournament. I couldn’t be happier.
“As an athlete nothing comes higher than the Olympic Games and London 2012 was the pinnacle achievement.
“But to come away from the Commonwealths with a medal and not just any medal, the gold, is fantastic.
“I have a really good sense of achievement and something to show for all the sacrifices over the years.
“I feel I’m playing the best polo I’ve ever played and as a team we got stronger and stronger. In the final everything just came off and you can’t ask for more.”
Wilcox, from Reagill near Shap, has form in showpiece events after becoming the first Great British water polo player to touch the ball in an Olympic setting during London 2012.
The 27-year-old finished the Olympics as Great Britain’s top scorer with seven goals from six matches, subsequently joining Barcelona-based side CN Mataro to play domestic water polo.
She is back in the country preparing for Great Britain’s World League qualifying match against Spain in Manchester next week, and remains buoyant by her latest success.
“Winning gold was absolutely brilliant although we made life very difficult for ourselves after losing a group match to Canada, who we then faced in the final,” she said.
“Despite knowing we were the better team and having a strong feeling we would win we were all really nervous going into the final.
“Heading into the last quarter we were winning by five goals but then only won by one – if you’ve ever seen a team fall to pieces in the latter stages of an important game that was us.
“Our heads went down as Canada nearly took us into extra-time so it made it that little bit sweeter when the final whistle went.
“It’s lovely to know someone for as long as Glen and I have known each other for and to see them win as well.
“We felt we deserved something next to our name for all the hard work over the years and now we have a gold medal to hang around our necks and show off.”