UK Sport’s Chief Executive, Sally Munday, has praised GB Boxing’s efforts in maintaining the world-class performance program for boxing over the last 12 months in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic and the challenges of lockdown.
Munday, who started her role at UK Sport in September 2019, lauded the leadership of GB Boxing for continuing to provide coaching and support to its boxers during 11 weeks of lockdown and for being one of the first sports to return to training when government guidance allowed it in June 2020.
Her comments were made in the Foreword to GB Boxing Annual Review 2019-20, “Rising to the challenge” which was published this week and can be viewed or downloaded HERE.
In the Foreword, Munday said: “Through a combination of Zoom coaching sessions and supplying the boxers with the kit and equipment to follow individualized programs at home, GB Boxing managed to keep its athletes training throughout lockdown.
“And even though, as a combat sport, it faced a significant set of challenges, boxing was one of the first world-class programs to return to training.
“The return to training was a project on which I personally worked closely with many of the sports we fund and I was very impressed with the adaptability and professionalism showed by the leadership at GB Boxing in getting its athletes, coaches and support staff safely back into the gym.
“As we face an uncertain future, I think the sports that will be most successful are those that have the agility and resourcefulness to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. My experience of the environment at GB Boxing gives me every reason to believe it will be one of those sports.”
Munday also praised GB Boxing’s delivery of sustained success over multiple Olympic Games and identified the culture and environment of the organization as key factors in this.
She added: “When you consider the achievements of GB Boxing, which has won 11 medals at the last three Olympic Games despite losing some of its best boxers to the professional ranks, it is clear there must be something in the culture and environment of the organization that helps to drive this success.”
“Rising to the challenge,” tells the story of a tumultuous period for GB Boxing which saw boxers in the squad win 16 medals at four major tournaments before the pandemic hit and placed the Tokyo Olympics in doubt.
It highlights the work of the organization inside and outside the ring and shows how GB Boxing managed to keep the world-class performance program going in the face of unprecedented circumstances.
The final section of the Annual Review is a look forward to Tokyo 2021 by Performance Director, Rob McCracken, in which he reflects on how his team has dealt with the challenge of the Games being postponed by 12 months.
He said: “It has been difficult for everyone yet we have tried to find the positives in the situation and although no-one would ever have chosen it to happen, the lockdown and its aftermath has given us time to pause, reflect and plan for the future.
“Having an additional 12 months to work with this group of men and women is a big positive. We have some of the best coaches in the world at GB Boxing and giving them another year to work with the squad will benefit the boxers and improve their chances of being successful at Tokyo 2021.
“I am confident that, as an organization, we can be stronger for this experience and that as long as our boxers continue to work hard we can help them to achieve their dreams and deliver more success for Team GB at Tokyo 2021.”