New gym a knockout success

Sports:

Boxing

Location:

Rhydyfelin, near Pontypridd

Former Commonwealth Gold medal-winning boxer Jamie Arthur is hooking in the next generation of boxers at his vibrant community gym in Rhydyfelin, near Pontypridd.

Arthur's Gym, a former derelict bingo hall, has been a popular haunt for local teenagers who are keen to refine their skills in the boxing ring, with the gym often packed straight after school.

Not only popular with teenage boys, the gym has seen an increase in female membership with Arthur's picking up two new female boxers since the 2012 Olympics came to a triumphant close.

With a £10,000 investment from Sport Wales to help transform and equip the neglected building into a space where members can thrive, Arthur's gym has become an important and integral part of the community.

Jamie said: "We have had an amazing impact on the local area - youths that would normally be hanging around the shops are now in our gym putting their efforts in to changing their lives for the better.

"Since we opened in April 2012 we have seen some fantastic results, especially from our female members. One of our lady boxers Carla Dwyer has just won the Welsh Novice Championships, which will no doubt inspire even more women and girls to join the amateur boxing ranks."

However it's not just boxing that is proving to be a hit with the locals, Arthur's Gym also have a range of other facilities' including healthy living sessions, diet and nutritional advice, strength and conditioning classes as well as Latin inspired Zumba fitness classes and a beauty salon.

Jamie added: "I don't think there are many clubs that have had such a positive impact in such a short period of time. We have produced competition winners, decreased anti-social behaviour and employed members of the local community while also contributing towards making sport in Wales accessible to all."

Some of the key priorities in the sector-wide Vision for Sport in Wales, devised by Sport Wales and industry partners, are to create communities with sport at the heart of them; retaining young people's participation and growing club membership - a vision that Jamie Arthur fully subscribes to.

Sport Wales Manager, Tom Overton believes Arthur's Gym is helping to showcase these priorities while also playing an important role in the Rhydyfelin community.

Said Tom: "We're committed to getting every child hooked on sport in Wales and to creating a nation of champions. Arthur's Gym is a crucial part of bringing this vision in to reality.

"Although this gym is a relatively new addition to the community, Arthur's has already inspired hundreds of young people to try a sport they may have not tried before. It is a great example of how a gym can be at the heart of the community and engage with all parts of society - especially women and girls who traditionally may not be interested in sports such as boxing."

For anyone who is interested in becoming a member of Arthur's Gym, please visit www.arthursgym.co.uk for more information.

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