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Nicola Adams boxing gold medal set to inspire more girls
Women’s boxing pioneer Jane Couch believes Nicola Adams’ historic Olympic gold medal success can inspire a new generation of girls to take up the sport and use her as a role model to inspire them for many Games to come.
Couch won a long legal battle against the British Boxing Board of Control for the right for women to box in 1998 and said watching Adams’ stunning win over triple world champion Ren Cancan was an “emotional” moment.
Couch, know as the ‘Fleetwood Assassin’, said: “Apart from Usain Bolt, I think women’s boxing has become the story of these Olympics.
“It was a very proud moment for me because I suppose the court case I brought paved the way for things like this to happen.
“Nicola is a great role model and an amazing fighter, as are all the girls in the competition.
“The fights have been well matched and much more exciting than the men and they will surely bring in more weight categories for Rio in four years’ time.
“Girls are already starting to come into the gyms a bit more and they are no longer being made to feel like I did; like a freak who wasn’t going to be welcomed.
“Now they’re going in as equals and, with more funding, participation will only increase.”
Couch believes Adams, who honed her boxing skills while studying at Bradford College, and GB team-mates Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall will resist the lure of the little-known women’s professional circuit and continue boxing as amateurs for the next Olympic cycle.
She said: “There’s no doubt that these girls are better off staying amateur. With funding and endorsements, they will make more money staying amateur.
“There is not much money in the pros, unless you are willing to base yourself abroad.”
Adams insisted the inevitable fame she will gain from being crowned Olympic champion will not change her.
She said: “I just like being the normal Nicky Adams, walking my dog and doing the normal day-to-day things. I’m going to try to stick to what I normally do as much as possible.”
But Great Britain coach Lee Pullen revealed that Adams’ stunning success had rubbed off on the rest of the squad, with the gold medalist given a standing ovation when she returned to team headquarters following a slew of media engagements.
Pullen said: “Nicola’s win has given the whole team and the country a lift. It seems the whole country has been going mad over her win, both because of her performance and because of its historic nature.
“Undoubtedly it has given the team a lift. They gave her a standing ovation and it has caused everyone to walk round with big smiles on their faces.
“Now it is up to them to follow her example and also get to the top of the podium.”