Watch the incredible 65-year-old pole champion crowned British number one after bouncing back from death of husband and parents
A woman left devastated by the death of her husband and parents has bounced back to win gold at the British Pole Sports Championship.
The 65-year-old initially took up pole fitness as a hobby around 12 years ago. But this was her very first competition, having signed up for it back in 2020 and progressing through qualifying stages to reach the final.
Alison’s triumph was particularly poignant, having lost both her parents John and Violet Dowie, and husband Kris in the space of just three weeks last year.
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Kris, 67, tragically passed away last July, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2020 and having also battled against lung cancer, while her parents died within four days of each other, aged 95 and 92 respectively, in August.
But Alison, who has two children Neal, 38 and Zoe, 31, says pole fitness helped her to “get up and focus on something” following the sad deaths of her family members.
She said: “My parents had a long and happy life, they were married for 71 years so it was sad but they also had a good life.
"Me and Kris spent nine years happily married. His diagnosis was in lockdown so it was an awful time in itself, let alone with Kris being unwell. I spent all of my time looking after him – it all happened very quickly, it was a really sad time.
“I had a friend who started pole sport and as a child I always did sports, things like gymnastics so it just went from there – I just enjoy being upside down.
"After a bad couple of years, it was a lot to take in so I needed something to get me out of bed. The competition gave me something to focus on and aim for, it got me going again. It was something positive that I really enjoy doing.”
Alison, who was an accountant, trains at Tempest Dance Studio in Columbia, Washington, three to four times a week with coach Mandy Williams and attends the gym twice a week.
And she is already looking forward to her next challenge at the International World Pole and Aerial Championships which will be going ahead from October 27-30 in Switzerland.
She added: “The championship was a very emotional day but also amazing, it was so exciting. I’m taking a week to relax and then I’ll start preparing for October.
"Everyone at the studio is brilliant and working with Mandy is wonderful, it’s like a little community. There are some challenges and my body won’t let me do all the things I want it to do but you just accept that when you’re a little older, you just have to listen to your body!
“After the year I’ve had, I just needed to do something positive, I couldn’t just sit around. And now look, how many people can say they have competed in a World Championship at 65!”