British boxing champion Hannah Beharry tells Tower Hamlets pupils never to give up their dream
As the Games drew to a close pupils at a primary school in Tower Hamlets were told by nine times British boxing champion Hannah Beharry never to give up their dreams.
The 26-year-old boxer became a 2012 medal hopeful as soon as it was announced that women’s boxing had been accepted as an Olympic sport for the first time.
But a torn ligament forced her out of the London Games. And instead she has turned her attention to trying to inspire young people through a programme entitled Be the Best you can Be. The project is run by 21st Century Legacy, a charity set up to help fulfil the promise of more youngsters taking up sports after the Games.
Standing in front of pupils at Sir William Burrough Primary School on Salmon Lane in Limehouse last Friday Hannah told them how she became the first woman to fight for England and Team GB after having only competed in two fights.
She said: “I was brought up in South Acton, an area with lots of estates but not much aspiration.
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“As a child I used to watch wrestling with my five brothers and would dream of becoming a sporting champion. But everywhere I turned people told me to stop dreaming.”
It was not until her teens when Hannah turned up at the prominent London boxing clubs All Stars that she managed to convince a coach to train her.
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And inspired by seeing images of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, as she left the premises, she decided to prove all those wrong who told her women could not box.
She told the children never to let anyone tell them they cannot do something. Instead she recommend that they try to achieve their goal by gradually setting themselves targets.
She said: “A goal without any steps is unachievable, just like climbing a latter without steps.”
Hannah now hopes to become fit enough again to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.