Olympic Boxers come home for Christmas to inspire the next generation
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Welsh boxing heroes Fred Evans and Joe Cordina took time out of training today to meet a group of youngsters hoping to follow in their footsteps.
The London 2012 Olympians took part in a training session and shared their inspirational stories with members of Splott Adventure Amateur Boxing Club (Splott ABC) in Cardiff, and sparred with youngsters from Moorland Primary School.
The club is ending the year on a high, thanks to its successful National Lottery funded development programme. The club, which has produced numerous amateur champions, was awarded over £23,000 National Lottery funding through Sport Wales in June to upgrade its facilities, fund new coaches and put on additional sessions for the local community. It now has more members than ever, including record numbers of girls.
Fred and Joe are both from Cardiff, and mainly train in Sheffield along with other elite boxers. They visited Splott ABC as part of the National Lottery’s Investing in Young People’s Futures campaign, highlighting the work which Lottery funding is doing to improve young people’s lives in Wales.
Olympic Silver medallist Fred Evans said: “I’ve really enjoyed visiting the club. Boxing is a huge part of my life and I have had the most amazing experience, going to the Olympics and competitions around the world. I hope I have been able to inspire some of the young people here today, and show that if you work hard and take advantage of what this club can offer you can go all the way.
“National Lottery funding has helped me get to where I am in my career and I am really grateful to everyone who plays for their support. It’s great to see that people at all levels are benefiting as well.”
Splott ABC is open five nights a week with around 60-70 members attending throughout a typical week.
Patrick Mahoney, Head Coach at Splott ABC, said: “We are delighted with how well our development programme is going. In the first six months we have seen a big increase in the numbers of people coming to the club and we are really keen to build on this.
“The National Lottery funding has made a massive difference – being able to refurbish the changing rooms and upgrade the club facilities has made it a much nice environment to train in and this has really helped us attract female members.
“Having Fred and Joe visit us has given these young people a real boost. It’s a great way of showing what can be achieved if you work hard.”
Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell said:
“The National Lottery has enabled Sport Wales and its partners to transform the sporting landscape with opportunities to get involved in sport.
“It’s important that National Lottery players are aware that they are supporting brilliant, life-changing projects like this. Investing in clubs like Splott ABC is investing in the lifeblood of Welsh sport. Without them, we wouldn’t have young people keeping fit and active, which we all know is of increasing significance.”
Fred Evans and Joe Cordina are among 1,300 elite athletes supported by National Lottery funding through UK Sport. The funding allows athletes to train full time and have access to some of the best coaching, facilities and support staff in the world.
• Splott ABC received a development grant of £23,435 in June 2013 to upgrade and refurbish the boxing club’s gym and changing room, specifically to attract female boxers, with a plan to add new coaches, run weekly sessions for junior and senior females, and attract new boxers
• The National Lottery raises £33 million every week for a wide range of sports, arts, heritage, charity and community projects across the UK
• The funding is awarded through 12 distributing bodies: Big Lottery Fund, UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport NI, Sport Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council NI, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute
• In the last five years alone there were 5,808 National Lottery grant awards to projects working with young people in Wales, totalling £106,407,590
• Fred Evans won the 69kg Welterweight Olympic silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics, and is from St Mellons, Cardiff.
• Joe Cordina has fought in two world championships and two European events, and won bronze Under 22 European champion. He is from St Mellons, Cardiff.
• They both train at St Joseph’s ABC in Newport, when not training with Team GB in Sheffield
• Fred Evans and Joe Cordina are members of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded World Class Performance Programme, which enables elite athletes to train full time and have access to some of the best coaching, facilities and support staff in the world
• Sport Wales is the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical activity in Wales. The main adviser on sporting matters to the Welsh Government, it is responsible for distributing National Lottery funds to both elite and grassroots sport in Wales, and aims to get every child in Wales hooked on sport for life and to create a nation of champions.