SASCHA Arnberger saved arguably her best performance for last.
Despite suffering from a severe bout of the flu, the 15-year-old dosed herself up on Nurofen and blue Gatorade and climbed out of her sick bed at the weekend.
The teenager claimed the Australian Martial Arts Championship's open women's national black belt title on Sunday afternoon, defeating Mel Sullivan.
Sullivan is the current Australian Karate Federation's under-21 55-kilogram Australian KUMITE (fighting) champion who is currently named as a reserve for the national team for the 2020 Toyko Olympic Games.
It was barely an hour after Arnberger was beaten in the final of the 13-15 years advanced black belt.
Sometimes you have no option other than to dust yourself off and go again.
"I feel like because we had a break, I had a warm-up in my own age group and then by moving to the higher division it was easier," Arnberger said.
"I'm happy with what I've done considering I was sick and felt a bit lethargic."
Coach Kevin Blundell admitted he was "apprehensive" about how the teenager would fare after she missed the first day of competition.
But he was suitably impressed with how she rose to the occasion and bounced back from the disappointment of finishing with a silver medal in her own age division.
"Like a true champion, she drew on her strength and experiences from international events especially at the world championships earlier in the year," Blundell said.
"I think she felt the home crowd pressure a little bit and was a bit apprehensive in her own division which held her back a little bit."
Her points victory in the open women's final came over a member of the current national karate team.
"Quite often if you have someone at a higher level and more of a challenge, that lifts your game," the coach said.
"She had nothing to lose against a highly-talented opponent; it wasn't a mug punter that's for sure."
Arnberger's result was a pleasing result for Port Macquarie, who hosted the event for the first time.
"Competition is only a small part of what we do, but it's refreshing to see that we can still bring talented young athletes through to the national and international ranks," Blundell said.
Father, Derek, said the secret to his daughter's success was with the blue Gatorade.
"These events stretch out over two days and she always ends up being one of the last events," he said.
It was six months after Arnberger became a world champion with a win in Portugal in May.
She will have a chance to defend her title in Portugal next year after being named in the Australian squad for the world championships.
Club mate Brock Gow was also selected in the national team.
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