Sameenah Toussaint was a 10-year-old hiding behind heavy luggage when girls’s boxing made its debut on the London Olympics and Nicola Adams swept to her historic first gold medal.
Across the identical time Toussaint’s father dragged her kicking and screaming to the native gymnasium the place her personal bid to emulate Adams would get off to essentially the most inauspicious of begins.
The 19-year-old, a part of a six-strong England girls’s boxing squad for the Video games, advised the PA information company: “My dad wished me to study defence however I spent all my time cowering within the nook and hiding behind the luggage.
“I used to be the one lady within the gymnasium and it was actually intimidating. After I did begin sparring, the boys both went too straightforward on me or intentionally tried to tough me up.”
Toussaint, who was born in Watford, felt she had no alternative however to persist, and there was no wanting again after she gained her first junior title two years later on the age of 12.
“After I gained my first schoolgirls’ title it was a giant turning level,” she mentioned. “I actually began to get pleasure from it and imagine in myself, and imagine that I might go on to huge issues.
“I used to be 15 when the final Commonwealth Video games have been on, and I watched all of the boxing. For those who’d advised me then I might be right here at the moment, I might have believed you, as a result of I began to get quite a lot of confidence in myself.”
Toussaint is competing within the featherweight division, which suggests she might come nose to nose with two-time Commonwealth silver medallist Michaela Walsh, who memorably pushed Adams to a break up resolution in Glasgow in 2014.
For Toussaint it’s a privilege to now be embedded inside a programme which yielded the primary technology of ladies’s boxers like Adams and Eire’s fellow Olympic champion Katie Taylor, who’ve gone on to get pleasure from profitable skilled careers.
“Nicola and Katie have been actually inspiring and what they did made certain that women can go into boxing gyms now and never really feel intimidated like I did,” Toussaint added.
“It’s wonderful to suppose I’m on the identical programme as them now, however I imagine in myself and after the Commonwealth Video games I’ll flip my full focus to following them by qualifying for the Olympics in Paris and Los Angeles in 2028.”