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One year on from London and Boxing is delivering a legacy
Page last updated at 1:02PM BST, Friday, 26 July 2013
As the one year anniversary since the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games approaches, boxing can claim to be one of the sports that is delivering a genuine legacy in both grassroots participation and continuing success at the elite level.
This is fantastic news for boxing and it is amazing to think that so many people have genuinely been inspired by me, and all the other women that boxed at 2012, to take-up the sport or start boxing training
Nicola Adams MBE
At the grassroots, the historic performances of Team GB’s boxers, who finished top of the medal table with three gold, one sliver and a bronze, have contributed to a seven per cent rise in overall once-a-week participation from 140,400 to 150,100, according to the most recent figures from Sport England’s Active People 7 Survey (which measures participation in sports from April 2012-April 2013).
The increase is most pronounced amongst women where the gold medal winning exploits of Nicola Adams has inspired a surge in female boxing which has shot-up by 50 per cent from 23,300 (for the period October 2011-October 2012) to 35,100 (from April 2012-April 2013).
“This is fantastic news for boxing and it is amazing to think that so many people have genuinely been inspired by me, and all the other women that boxed at 2012, to take-up the sport or start boxing training,” said Olympic gold medallist, Nicola Adams MBE.
“I am always being told by people that I meet or others that contact me via Twitter that I have inspired them to be active and take-up the sport so it is brilliant to see that this is translating into real results amongst so many different age groups. It is really important that we get more women doing exercise and being active and those that have taken-up boxing or boxing training will definitely find that it has a really positive impact on their health, fitness and well-being.”
The figures for women are part of a wider positive trend for participation in boxing which has been fuelled by initiatives by the home nation Amateur Boxing Association in England, Scotland and Wales and efforts by grassroots boxing clubs which have been delivering a range of initiatives to help drive participation.
These include running more classes for female boxers in clubs, initiatives to increase the number of coaches in clubs, recruiting and up-skilling more volunteers and an expansion of programmes to promote non-contact boxing in schools.
In England, once-a-week participation is up by 31 per cent in North West England (from 19,700 to 25,800), 36 per cent in the West Midlands (from 11,700 to 15,900), 51 per cent in the East Midlands (from 10,000 to 15,100) and 13 per cent in the South East (from 12,800 to 14,500).
At the elite level, the GB Boxing squad has continued to win medals, with a gold and two bronze at the men’s 2013 European Championships and three golds and one bronze at the women’s EU Championship, and is well-placed to continue its run of success which has seen boxers from the GB Boxing squad win 32 medals at major tournaments since 2009.
Six of the 10 boxers that competed in London have stayed with the squad which includes two Olympic medallists, Nicola Adams and Fred Evans, 2012 world champion, Savannah Marshall, 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Josh Taylor, world and European bronze medallist, Natasha Jonas and two-time European champion and the world’s number-one ranked flyweight, Andrew Selby.
This is a formidable nucleus which is supplemented by a host other names in GB Boxing’s 46-strong Podium and Podium Potential squads. The depth of talent in the squad was shown at this year’s European championship in Minsk when Andrew Selby made history by becoming the first Welshman ever to retain the title and Jack Bateson and Joe Joyce took bronze medals at light-flyweight and super-heavyweight in their first appearances at a major international tournament.
The women have been similarly successful coming away with three gold medals for Nicola Adams, Lisa Whiteside and Savannah Marshall and a bronze for Natasha Jonas from their first competition since London 2012 when they competed at July’s EU Championship in Hungary.
GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken, explained: “Although we are in a process of transition and have lost some of our boxers to the professional ranks, we are still in a far stronger position than has traditionally been the case at this point in the cycle and have, to a certain extent, bucked the trend of Olympic boxers leaving the amateurs by retaining 60% of the team that competed in London, including two of the five that won a medal.
“We also have some very good boxers coming through that already have a lot of international experience from their time in the squad and will now have the opportunity to go to major championships and show that they have what it takes to win medals. In this sense, the performances of Jack Bateson, Joe Joyce and Lisa Whiteside were particularly pleasing as they have demonstrated that our less experienced boxers can win medals on the bigger stages.
“It all augurs very well for the future and as long as the boxers continue to work hard and listen to the coaches we will give ourselves every chance of continuing to sustain the success we have achieved over the last few years.”