Press release

“Gladiator, ready? Entrepreneurs, ready?”

Published on 15 February 2024

A star of Saturday night television is to swap the gauntlet of the Gladiators arena for the University of Dundee as she shares stories of her battles in the world of business.

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Sheli McCoy – better known to viewers of the Saturday night sensation as Sabre – will slice through some of the myths facing new business founders having carved out a hugely successful career in the world of fitness.

“One of the things I’ve learned is the ability to let go of achieving perfect balance in my life,” she said.

“I maybe work earlier than some people, or later than others, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to run my businesses and be a full-time athlete.

“Gladiators has added to that further – interviews, photoshoots, filming - but it's something that I love. 

“I colour code my diary and I’m pretty strict about that, and that has made everything a little easier. I can sleep well knowing that my day is organised, but there can’t always be balance within that, so I’ve had to let go of that notion and that has actually helped me.”

While her recent career on television has thrust Sheli into the limelight, she has been a leading business figure in the Tayside fitness scene for several years.

Having developed an interest in CrossFit while studying at university, she decided to pursue this into a career after graduating with a Masters in Sports and Exercise Science.

Today, she is founder and co-owner of Dundee’s SweatBox gym, a, “welcoming, educational, functional and friendly gym,” with a flourishing membership. That has been no easy task, however, having face several trials through having to relocate premises, face the uncertainty of lockdown and enduring battles with planning authorities, all while training as one of the country’s leading athletes.

She added, “As an entrepreneur, if you enter the process and assume it will be plain sailing then you won’t come out alive. Nobody makes things easy for anyone else, but all of the challenges I have faced have reaffirmed to me that this is what I have wanted to do.

“But if this was it, then it already feels like it is enough for me.

“I feel as though I have given something back through SweatBox, which has positively affected so many people. That can never be taken away, so already I feel as though I have achieved everything that I want to achieve.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t want to progress. I do want to do more things for more people, but already I feel as though I have succeeded.”

The Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship is one of the highlights of the University’s annual Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from Monday 19 to Friday 23 February. Organised by the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, the event is now in its eighth year and includes a host of lectures and workshops for anybody interested in the world of enterprise.

The week will culminate in the final of this year’s Venture competition, where budding entrepreneurs from across the University community compete for funds from a record £78,500 prize pot to start their own business.

The Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship takes place from 6pm on Wednesday 21 February. Free tickets can be booked online at


Roddy Isles

Head of Corporate Communication

+44 (0)1382 384910