A Winnipeg athlete is celebrating a gold medal in beach volleyball at the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy, a victory made sweeter by what she has had to overcome.

Wanda Guenette, 50, returned to Winnipeg on Thursday from the international competition, which features athletes over the age of 30.

The latest medal is the third consecutive gold for Guenette, who said she wasn't even sure four years ago if she would be able to compete.

"Right after our gold medal in Sydney, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and told I'd never be able to play again," she said.

"So for me, this is pretty special because it's been a three-year fight to get back into shape and overcome it."

Guenette also coaches beach volleyball and is taking Team Manitoba to the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que., this weekend.