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Rathbone Amateur Boxing Club have been shortlisted alongside MovementWorks and London&SE Regional Netball Association/Met Police
Rathbone Amateur Boxing Club have been shortlisted alongside MovementWorks and London&SE Regional Netball Association/Met Police

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London Sport Awards 2021 nominees: The Uniting London Award - Rathbone Amateur Boxing Club

WIMBELDON wonder-woman Rachel Bower has seen her perception-transforming exploits in the boxing world recognised by a nomination for a London Sport Award.

Detective by day, amateur sporting trailblazer by night, Bower is the head coach at Rathbone Amateur Boxing Club who have been shortlisted for The Uniting London Award, in association with Sport England, ahead of the Guildhall ceremony on December 6.

Rathbone, who are based at Camden Boxing Club, use their crucial outreach arm to inspire trust in the LGBTQ+ community and promote the benefits of social integration through boxing – no matter what your background.

The club’s 'Proud to #FightTogether' programme sees them run LGBTQ+ friendly sessions that combat concerns to make members of the community feel welcome in a sport that has not always been so historically.

And Bower, 38, said: “Rathbone is really close to my heart.

“I really like the inclusive community that we’ve built in the club as a whole. It’s really important to extend that because I feel really passionately about extending the benefits of boxing to everyone, no matter who they are, what they look like or where they’re from.

“It’s about bringing them into a place that’s welcoming and accepting – showing they can benefit from boxing and helping them grow in skills, fitness and confidence.

“The work we do here is really important for us – we want to show people it’s inclusive. Boxing traditionally is quite a masculine sport, and gyms can sometimes appear unwelcoming.

“It’s really important for us to reach people and let them know that everyone’s welcome to us.

On what it meant to be recognised in the form of being nominated, Bower added: “We’re really proud of how we’ve come out of this really hard period in lockdown, and come out a lot stronger than we went in.

“It’s nice to know what we’re doing is really making a difference.”

Over the last five years, the annual London Sport Awards, in association with the City of London Corporation, has grown to become the biggest celebration of grassroots and community physical activity and sport in the city.

And this year’s showpiece event will once again recognise, celebrate, and shine a light on the stories of the incredible individuals, groups and organisations for their outstanding work across the capital helping Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to be physically active.

Rathbone ABC are champions of inclusion and use their weekly sessions – held every Sunday afternoon – to promote the benefits of boxing for all.

The club provides a safe space for those in the LGBTQ+ community and fosters a welcoming, warm and feel-good environment that is continuing to blaze a trail.

Rathbone are fervent advocates of employing social media as a means of furthering their outreach, with their inspirational exploits changing perceptions even being rewarded with a visit by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Jill Leflour, who hails from Normandy in France, is one dedicated participant who believes the impact of Rathbone has been pivotal in helping him regain confidence in the ring.

The 24-year-old, who now lives in the capital, said: “Rathbone has been a safe space for me to come back into boxing.

“I found the sessions and they really allowed me to go back into boxing in an inclusive space. It’s been really lovely to be able to train with such an inclusive team and with such great coaches.

“It’s so important what we do here. I don’t think I’d have got back into boxing if it wasn’t for Rathbone.”

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

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London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

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