7:00pm Monday 16th July 2012
By Simon Parker
Olympic hopeful Nicola Adams was in Bradford to pay tribute to the coach who set her on the path to medal glory.
Adams is one of the favourites to land gold when women’s boxing makes its debut at the London Games.
But she interrupted her build-up to say a public thank you to the mentor who honed her skills.
Alwyn Belcher has an impressive CV at amateur level, having taught the likes of Amir Khan and Naseem Hamed, and he has been training Adams since she was 15.
That dedication was commemorated at Huggy’s Amateur Boxing Club in the city when Adams unveiled a plaque in his honour.
The event was organised by Join In Local Sport, a campaign to involve local communities in the Games with a big weekend of sports across the country on August 18 and 19.
Adams said: “Volunteers and coaches like Alwyn do amazing work and it’s right that he is being recognised in this way. Because of him I am going to the Olympics.”
Belcher, who travels from Sheffield to the Springmill Street base for training, is confidently backing his prodigy to wipe the board in the 51kg division.
He said: “Nicky is a fantastic fighter. In the early days it was actually her passion, enthusiasm and talent that changed my views on women’s boxing.
“I’m predicting gold for her this summer – only gold!”
Reality TV actor Rashid Mahmood was among those attending the plaque ceremony.
Mahmood, who starred in the Channel 4 documentary Make Bradford British, regularly trains at the club.
“Clubs like this have a vital role to play in the community,” he said. “They promoted healthy, active living and can keep kids off the streets.
“This gym is used by all sections of the community and helps brings people together.
“For the guys that train here to have an Olympic role model to look up to is so inspiring.”
Former pro fighter Huggy Osman, who owns the gym, confirmed there will be an open training weekend next month to coincide with the Join In campaign.
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