Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams proved a knockout in Sheffield at the launch of a new drive to get more young people and volunteers into sport.
The boxing champion packed a punch with city youths when she climbed into a ring to spar in the city centre.
She was promoting boxing as part of a summer-long ‘Join In’ campaign aimed at encouraging more volunteers to help run sports clubs.
A boxing ring was set up in Barker’s Pool for demonstrations and taster sessions, with Nicola taking part.
She said: “Volunteers are really important and it is nice for me to inspire youths and to encourage volunteers to get involved.
“All the coaches and volunteers who have helped me from the day I first stepped foot in a gym helped me to excel - their belief in me drove me forward.”
The visit to Sheffield coincided with work to use boxing to divert youngsters away from lives of crime.
Social worker Ronnie Tucker, who runs Aspire Boxing Gym in Darnall, said: “Any sport can be used as way of getting children away from anti-social behaviour and the periphery of crime –it’s all about providing opportunities for young people to get involved in positive activities.
“We encourage those who box at Aspire to give something back and go on to become volunteer coaches themselves.”
Nicola said: “It’s only one year on from the Olympics and Paralympics but I am still overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm generated by the thousands of Games Makers and volunteers.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they have inspired a whole generation of people who are able to rise to any challenge they face.
“I’m sure this is why so many people are here today in Sheffield, enjoying this ‘Join In’ event. With even more volunteers at local boxing and sports clubs across the country we will ensure that the Olympic legacy will punch well above its weight.”
Ben Stewart, the Amateur Boxing Association of England’s Club Support Officer, said: “The event is one of the best ways to showcase boxing and how it can be used as a vehicle for positive change.
“Competitive sport provides a platform for everyone, especially young people, to channel their energy in a constructive way.
“Having Olympic heroes like Nicola Adams attending will highlight the importance of grassroots boxing and encourage the community to get behind their local clubs.”
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