01/05/2013

£600,000 For Belfast's Boxers

Belfast City Council is to inject £600,000 to improve amateur boxing in the city.

Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Tierna Cunningham has officially launched the strategy.

Speaking at the Ulster Hall, Councillor Cunningham laid out the council's ten-year strategy which has been crafted in partnership with Co Antrim Boxing, Ulster Boxing Council (UBC), Sport Northern Ireland and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).

The action plan will seek to improve coach education and development, club support and development and governance.

The Deputy Lord Mayor said: "Boxing is a very successful sport in the city, you only have to look at the success of local boxers at last year's Olympics, and the number of champions who have trained in Belfast.

"However, many clubs are working out of inadequate facilities which make them unattractive as sports arenas – we will be hoping to support clubs to change that.

"Katy Taylor's success in boxing has done much to raise the profile of women in boxing and that is something we would be hoping to build upon to attract more women into the sport," she said.

"It is not just about the elite performers, boxing clubs play an important role in the life of communities, many of them in socially deprived areas. They provide an outlet to young men, and an increasing number of young women, equipping them with life skills."

Two new community-based coaching posts for boxing have been announced, along with the recruitment of a Sports Development Officer with responsibility for boxing as a "key element" of the post.

The increased involvement of schools, including special need schools and issues such as funding and sponsorship of both local and international competitions in Belfast were also identified as areas of development.

Tommy Murphy, President of the IABA, said: "The boxing fraternity welcome this strategy and the support that Belfast City Council is giving the sport in Belfast. We will continue to work with the council in the implementation of the strategy."

(IT/CD)

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