Parasport Train With - Pembroke Boxing
Aspiring boxers were treated to a special visit from three-time Paralympic champion Aled Davies during an inclusive session for all generations at Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Amateur Boxing Club.
As part of Parasport’s Tokyo 2020 Games-time activation, inclusive taster sessions were hosted at Parasport clubs around the country to celebrate clubs and volunteers, reduce isolation for disability sport through participation and focus on wellbeing following the challenges created by Covid.
Head coach Chris McEwan holds weekly session encouraging disabled people to try the sport with Davies, 30, attending fresh from winning his third Paralympic title in the F42 shot put in Tokyo.
Davies said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. I’m so excited to come along and see the great work this club’s doing.
“It’s exciting to see so many people get involved with the sport, developing the sport itself - especially for people with disabilities.
“Grassroots sports is where it all begins. For me, these are the most important days of the any athlete’s lives with the fundamental skills that you develop. It’s amazing to see that this is where champions are beginning to be made.
“It’s so important for people to take any opportunities to try out everything that they can. I did the same. I started out in Swimming and just tried so many different sports.
“Now with health at the forefront after Covid, it’s even more important. It’s great for people to get out there and try something new.
“I don’t even think there should be a debate about inclusivity anymore. There’s no excuse. These clubs with their athletes, it doesn’t matter about a disability.
“These athletes are so determined to succeed every time, so it’s about finding a method with which to coach and work with them.
“I feel like that’s the important thing here - they don’t treat anyone differently.”
Among those in attendance was Ben Stanton, who quickly fell in love with the sport after starting his boxing adventure and regularly attends classes designed for disabled children.
Stanton, 12, said: “I enjoy boxing because it installs you with discipline, helps you take your anger out, and it’s very fun.
“It’s a sport everyone needs to enjoy a bit more. It’s absolutely loads of fun.
“Chris is an absolute character and a legend. He’s a really good boxing coach, he’s really inspirational.
“I’m going to keep boxing for a couple more years, and then we’ll see how we go after that.”
Also attending was Cat Woodward, who has struggled with confidence issues since she lost most of her eyesight five years ago following a lifetime of eye issues.
The 49-year-old could not take part in the session due to a recent operation but has already overcome one hurdle by deciding to attend and hopes to start taking part as soon as possible.
She said: “I used to really enjoy boxing a few years ago but in 2016 I had an operation which failed. I lost sight in my left eye and I’ve only got 20% central vision on my right side.
“I really miss boxing and other activities such as mountain biking and riding my motorbike. I lost a lot of confidence because I lost my sight, I felt I wasn’t me anymore.
“Earlier I actually came near, went to the door and walked away – because of nerves and a lack of confidence, I suppose. I came back and I’m glad I did.
“To come to a place where you don’t know people is hard, and I don’t think people realise how hard it is. But I feel like if I can do it, maybe other people can.
“Coming here tonight did take a lot for me, but I did it and I’m glad I did. Maybe next time it won’t be so difficult.”