Punching for a shared future

BOXING heroes provided young people from Monkstown Boxing Club with the inspiration to use sport to KO sectarianism and racism in their community.

The young people took part in the SportsJam project, an innovative initiative working with sports clubs across Newtownabbey which aims to encourage better community relations and promotes sport as a catalyst for positive change and building better relationships.

Legends Davy Larmour, Eamonn McAuley and Newtownabbey’s own Neil Sinclair all spoke of the contribution that boxing had made to their lives.

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Paul Johnston from Monkstown Boxing Club said: “It was great to see the young people respond to what their heroes had to say.

“Week in, week out we see the difference boxing makes to the young people who use this club and through SportsJam we are giving young people the skills to make a real difference in their local communities, addressing sectarianism and racism.”

As part of the programme the young people from Monkstown have been participating in regular training sessions being provided by experienced local coaches.

They have also taken part in a residential where they have had the opportunity to explore the impact of negative attitudes and to develop relationships with other young boxers from different community backgrounds.

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Former professional boxer, Commonwealth gold medal winner and Monkstown Boxing Club legend Neil Sinclair added: “Boxing gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. It gave me discipline and an understanding of how to look after my mind and body.

“It helped me to see the world and I have many wonderful memories.

“It is wonderful to see so many young people here and I know they will benefit from the programme and the difference boxing can make in their lives.”