GB Boxers join the Prime Minister on trip to Brazil to support the Fight for Peace
GB Boxing’s Olympic gold medallists, Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua joined the Prime Minister, David Cameron last week on a trip to Brazil to build and enhance links with the country that will host the next Olympic Games.
The pair linked-up with the Prime Minister for a visit to Fight for Peace (FFP), a project based in Rio de Janeiro and London that uses boxing and martial arts combined with education and personal development to realise the potential of young people in communities that suffer from crime and violence.
The boxers were joined by Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons and her fellow judo player Euan Burton as they spent two days at the FFP Academy in the Maré favela in Rio. The athletes met with the founder of the project Luke Dowdney and put some of the youngsters through their paces with a session of boxing training.
On day two of the visit Nicola and Anthony were joined by the Prime Minister who toured the academy and met with members of FFP's Youth Council, which is made-up of young people from the project that act as a bridge between staff and project participants to ensure that the opinions of members reach the team and are considered in the planning and development of FFP's activities.
The Prime Minister said: "London 2012 captured the imagination of a whole nation, young and old, from all backgrounds. It's even more incredible to hear how it reached out to people right around the world and to think that young people here in Brazil were looking on as legends such as Nicola, Anthony and Gemma battled it out for their medals.
"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about much more than just sport, as incredible as that is. They are about aspiration, dedication, hard work and striving to be the best you can be. And that is exactly what projects like FFP do, using sport to connect with young people, give them goals, a focus, somewhere to develop their skills and the chance to discover what they can do.
"It is making a real difference to young people both here in Rio and at the academy in Newham, London. A truly inspirational project."
Anthony Joshua said: "It was a humbling and inspiring experience to meet the people involved with FFP and spend time with the kids and hear about how boxing is bringing them hope and helping them to build a better life. Boxing has a proven track record of bringing benefits to people and communities all over the world and this is a great example of how the sport can be used to provide young people with a purpose and a structure that helps them in all aspects of their life."
Nicola Adams added: "It was a great experience to meet the young people at the project, hear their stories and see the fantastic work that is going on to help them build a better way of life. It shows you what amazing things sport can do to benefit people and communities."
Following the visit to the favela, the boxers travelled with the Prime Minister to the capital city of Brasilia where they were they met the President, Dilma Rousseff.
Founded in 2000, Fight for Peace (which is known as ‘Luta Pela Paz' in Brazil) offers boxing, capoeira, wrestling, taekwondo and judo to young people across the community, training elite athletes and developing leadership and community skills to draw people away from the drugs trade and gangs. Besides that, there are primary and secondary education courses and personal development; mentoring and case working; job training and computer courses.
It started in Rio 12 years ago and has since expanded to the UK with its Fight for Peace academy in Woolwich, near London's Olympic Park. The FFP Group directly serves over 2250 young people per year. Over the next three years, FFP International will train 129 community based organisations from around the world in its methodology and theory of change, reaching a total of 79,200 children and young people.
Luke Dowdney, director and founder of FPP said: "It was a great honour to have Prime Minister David Cameron visit us and the most important aspect of this is that the young people from Maré Community had the chance to talk about the challenges they face on a daily basis. The Prime Minister was open to hear this challenge and understand the work Fight for Peace have done for 12 years in giving this community's children and teens a better opportunity.
More information about Fight for Peace is available at www.fightforpeace.net.
See more images from the trip in our Gallery