London Spy

British medal hopes: Nicola Adams

London Spy

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Adams at the Strandja Cup in Sofia

When Nicola Adams steps into the ring at London 2012, she may look familiar.

The 29-year-old from Leeds has had a stop-start journey to this year's Olympics, where women's boxing will make its debut.

During the wilderness years, where she found it difficult to find opponents that would allow her to test her potential, Adams acted as an extra in television soap operas.

However, since she first stepped into a boxing gym at the age of 12, Adams has been focused on higher ambitions.

In 2003 she became English amateur champion — a title she defended successfully for the following three years.

In 2007 Adams secured another first — becoming the first woman to win a medal in a major international boxing tournament, by emerging with a silver in the bantamweight division at the European championships. A silver medal in the world championships arrived the following year.

However, Adams faced a major challenge when, in 2009, a severe back injury left her sidelined for a year.

Her return to action was spectacular, with Adams winning a silver medal at the 2010 World Amateur Championships. A year later, Adams' victory at the European Union Amateur Championships ensured her place in the record books as the first English woman to pick up a gold medal in a major international boxing championship.

Adams entered 2012 ranked as the world's third best fighter in her division, and having claimed so many firsts in the sport that she loves, a first gold Olympic gold medal would be a fitting next step.

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