Boxer inspires Macmillan Academy pupils to tackle prejudice

Athlete mentor news
Mon 3rd Dec '12

Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentor Amanda Coulson spent the day with students from Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough on Monday 12 November and shared her story of overcoming prejudice to achieve success as a female boxer.

Having formally announced her retirement from boxing in October, Amanda is now more focussed than ever on her role as an Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport, using her experiences as a woman in a male dominated sport to help students across the North East tackle prejudice.

During her visit to Macmillan Academy Amanda shared with the students her personal story of triumph over adversity which saw her combat prejudice within the boxing community to achieve international sporting success. 

As a 14 year old, keen to try out boxing for the first time, Amanda was shocked to find herself in a sporting community that was anything but welcoming to female members.  Many local boxing clubs refused to allow her to train, citing a lack of female changing rooms or female coaches as reasons to deny her membership. Undeterred, Amanda refused to let prejudice hold her back and continued her search for a club.  Eventually, she was invited to join Hartlepool Catholic Boys Boxing Club, which soon dropped 'Boys' from its name and proudly supported her swift rise through the boxing ranks.

Throughout her career Amanda remained an advocate for equality within the boxing community, believing female boxers should receive the same support on all levels as their male counterparts.  It’s a cause which Amanda continues to champion and this summer she was delighted to see fellow Athlete Mentor Natasha Jonas mark a historic moment when women’s boxing made its Olympic debut at London 2012.

A staunch believer in fighting prejudice in all areas of life, Amanda comments: “I’m honoured to be part of Sky Sports Living for Sport and to have the chance to share my success in tackling prejudice within the boxing community with young people.  I hope my story will inspire all the students I meet not to let life’s challenges hold them back.”

Sky Sports Living for Sport is designed to empower students and uses the British Athletes Commission’s ‘Six Keys to Success’, which include mental toughness, hunger to achieve, people skills, sports and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success, to help them achieve their own life goals. Amanda paid particular attention to breaking barriers during her visit, encouraging the students to harness their abilities to stand out, be different and make history.

The pupils, who have been selected by their teachers to take part in the school’s Sky Sports Living for Sport project, also had the opportunity to share with Amanda the sporting activities they have been involved in, their achievements and the skills they have learned.

Find out more about Amanda's story