‘Not producing champions in the ring, producing champions in life’
A new boxing gym, aiming to educate young members of society both inside and out of the ring, opened its doors for the first time in Bradford last month.
The Lion Gym, in Greengates, is the result of years of hard work by police community support officer and boxing coach, Khalil Alam, and follows on from the successful ‘Contender’ initiative.
Set up to coincide with the work of local youth services, ten week courses will ruin from the establishment covering topics such as drug awareness and healthy eating.
Khalil explained further: “We previously did a project with West Yorkshire Police, NHS and a healthy eating team called ‘The Contender’. It was set up to give young people the chance to mix education with boxing through a ten week course.
“Although the kids really enjoyed themselves, after the ten weeks were up, they were basically lost again in the system.
“This new gym will give young people the chance to continue to train here after the 10 weeks are up and therefore keep them away from dangerous lifestyles.”
Khalil says it was actually the children who had requested for the new space to be opened after the success of previous projects.
Working with community centres in Ravenscliffe and Thorpe Edge, it is a project close to home for Bradford-born Khalil.
“I hope the gym can act as a hub for these groups and bring something new to the area,” he added.
“I have set this up with help from local community groups and it is not in any way for profit. It is very important to me that we give young people the opportunity to excel. We have the right organisations on board and everything is ready for the young people now.”
Setting up the gym in his own time, Khalil balanced his busy life and overcame health problems yet was able to officially cut the ribbon last week alongside Bradford Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds.
Local boxers, Qais Ashfaq, Tasif Khan and Harris Akbar were joined by India’s Vijender Singh on the day, to bring a knockout punch to proceedings.
Although Khalil says he would love to see his gym help produce an athlete on par with the aforementioned names, there are other priorities.
“The aim here is not to produce champion boxers in the ring but to produce champions in real life,” he added.
For more information about The Lion Gym please visit www.theliongym.co.uk