Nicola Adams' Olympic success 'inspiring huge interest' in boxing (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Bradford boxing club where champion trains busy with inquiries
A Bradford gym made famous by the first women’s Olympic boxing champion, Nicola Adams, is experiencing a gold rush of its own.
Huggy Osman, who owns the gym in Springmill Street, off Manchester Road, where the 29-year-old trains at weekends, said his phone had been red-hot with young people wanting to follow in her gold medal-winning footsteps.
“Since Nicky got gold we’ve had loads of young people, especially girls and their dads, getting in touch with us wanting to take it up,” said Mr Osman.
“She’s inspired a lot of people and really stirred up interest in the sport. It’s fantastic.”
Mr Osman said he had spoken to the flyweight champion since her victory and is expecting her back in the gym in the next week after she has had a well-earned rest.
He said: “We spoke to her on the phone straight after she won and she was still taking it all in but we knew she’d do it. We knew it all beforehand that she’d get through to the finals and bring back gold. She made it all look easy.
“We’re looking forward to her coming back and we’ll be organising something special with all the kids – she’s an inspiration.”
Women's boxing pioneer Jane Couch has already said she believes Nicola’s historic Olympic gold can inspire a new generation of girls to take up the sport and use her as a role model to inspire them for many Games to come.
She won a long legal battle against the British Boxing Board of Control for the right for women to box in 1998 and said watching last week’s win over triple world champion Ren Cancan was an “emotional” moment.
She added: “It was a very proud moment for me because I suppose the court case I brought paved the way for things like this to happen.”
Nicola, of Leeds, honed her boxing skills while she was a student at Bradford College after taking up the sport from the age of 12. She began training at Huggy’s when she was 15.
Huggy’s was packed last week with her supporters, including her coach Alwyn Belcher, to watch her punch her way into the history books.
Mr Belcher, 78, whose impressive coaching CV at amateur level includes Amir Khan and Naseem Hamed, said Nicola’s oustanding ability had been evident since she was a teenager.