LOUISE RENICKS’ CV must run to about 10 pages. The key achievement remains the gold medal she won alongside sister Kimberley at the 2014 Commonwealth Games but since retirement from judo – and more on that later – she has barely stopped to put her feet up.

Even during the midst of a pandemic that has had such a detrimental effect on sport, both at elite and recreational level, the 38 year-old hasn’t slowed down much, if at all.

“I’ve luckily not hit a wall like some other people,” she reveals. “I’ve just tried to stay positive. The days and weeks are flying by as I’ve got so much on.”

A new mum to 18-month old Riou, Renicks divides the rest of her time between the two community judo clubs she runs in Coatbridge, another sports club in East Ayrshire, her day job as an Active Schools Coordinator in Perthshire, her studies for a Masters in Advanced Sports Coaching and helping Kimberley with her training whenever she can squeeze that in too.

Given all she puts in – a lot of it on a voluntary basis – it is not surprising to learn she has been nominated for two Scottish Women in Sport awards, one for Active Scotland – Senior Community Sport Champion and another for Frame Excellence in Communication. The winners will be announced at an online ceremony on Thursday.

“There are lots of people just now doing good things in sport and in their communities and you just wish they could reward everybody,” she adds. “It’s just nice to get some recognition like this especially at the end of what has been such a difficult year.

“It will be getting funny getting dressed up for it. I wouldn’t usually get dolled up just to stay in the house! But it’s something a bit different. We’re all adapting this year the best we can.”

Coaching in 2020 has taken on a whole different dimension. With time on the judo mat or sport pitches greatly limited, the onus instead has fallen on trying to keep children’s spirits up during a challenging period.

“Since the start of lockdown I’ve been sending weekly emails to the parents, I put stuff on Facebook, I do quizzes with the classes, or we hold what we call gossip groups where we meet up and the kids just chat to each other.

“I look after 100 kids and I’d say 75 of them are engaging with me on a monthly level. For the ones who haven’t been on the Zooms I’ve been sending them judo reading books or colouring-in books, asking them to draw a picture or ask them to tell me something they’ve done so there’s still some communication. I’ve tried to work it around their personality so they stay connected.”

Renicks, though, fears there will be a legacy down the line as after-school clubs and other activities fall by the wayside due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“I think we are going to have a fitness and obesity issue,” she adds. “One of the schools I work with said that they’re finding some kids are putting a lot of weight on.

“When things aren’t going well and people are unhappy it’s a natural reaction to turn to comfort eating. You can hear the cardio difference in their breathing when they’re walking along the corridors. That’s a worry.”

With doubts over whether the Olympics will still go ahead next year, Renicks has been working with her sister with a view to preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2022. And she hasn’t ruled out making a comeback herself.

“Personally, I don’t think the Olympic Games will go ahead,” adds Louise. “We’ve discussed that and so Kimberley has taken on a full-time job working as a carer. She needs a bit of money behind her as she’s been a skint athlete for a long time.

“She had been going back and forward to Ratho and working with Euan Burton, the national coach, and doing weights and conditioning more locally. We’ve got a wee set-up in my mum and dad’s garage as well with some bands, dummies and mats down there.

“She is training hard and the mind at the moment is on trying to start qualifying for the Commonwealth Games. I retired a while back but I said to my sister, watch out, if I get my fitness back up then I’m going to make a comeback and try to make the team as well.

“My wee boy is a bit older now so when I’m training at home now he’s doing his squats and mini work-out beside me!

“Sometimes you need a goal to motivate you and where Scotland is just now I don’t think we have 14 young players coming through to fill the team. So it might be time to come out of retirement and give it another go.”