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Olympics decision a big hit

PUBLISHED: 12:20 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:55 07 July 2010

Two local women boxers have spoken of their delight that they could be able to compete in their sport at the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to allow women to compete in three divisions of boxing.

Two local women boxers have spoken of their delight that they could be able to compete in their sport at the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to allow women to compete in three divisions of boxing.

Lucy O'Connor is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and currently the No 1 female boxer in Britain in the featherweight category and No 5 in the world.

The 30-year-old, who was born in Wells and went to Northgate High School, Dereham and Fakenham College, said: “Boxing was the only sport that females weren't allowed to compete in at the Olympics and so this is important for all sportswomen. It makes a huge statement. We are absolutely thrilled. It gives us our ultimate dream to compete in the Olympics.”

In response the views of those against women boxing, she said: “A few years ago the same would be said about football, cricket and taekwondo. It is a question of progression. We know every year we are going to progress and get recognition.”

She added that the two sexes perform in the boxing ring in very different ways.

“The men naturally are more powerful and have more strength in their arms. They focus really on the power whereas the women do not necessarily have the power and strength. It is more like a game of mental chess in the ring and is more technical.”

Fellow boxer Sam Halms, from Dereham, said: “It is a huge achievement that women's boxing has been allowed into the Olympics. The women that want to do it are the women we fight. If someone wants to fight then why is there a problem?

“If someone works hard and if they have the tools to do well then why not put them into practice?”

The 20-year-old of Kingfisher ABC is the Eastern Counties Champion in the light welterweight section and in May made it through to the final of the national Senior ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) Championships.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the sport should “play no part in a modern Olympic Games.” A BMA spokesman said: “The cumulative affect of a lifetime in the ring can be irreversible brain damage.”

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