All-female boxing camp empowering young women

World champion boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich part of program at Sooke Community Hall

Dawn Gibson

Sooke News Mirror

 

The Sooke Boxing Club hopes to empower women by hosting an all-girls camp at the Sooke Community Hall this week, and world champion boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich is there to show her support.

“This camp for the women is all about believing you can do whatever you set your mind to,” said Mrdjenovich. “I love boxing, so just being in the gym with the girls and seeing them have the same joy that I get from boxing. It’s always good to see that enlightenment they get from the same thing that I do.”

Ellen Connor, organizer of the event and founder of the Sooke Boxing Club, said the camp was the initiative of Boxing B.C., with hopes of getting more women involved in the sport.

“Female’s have only been allowed to box in the last two Olympics, so it’s a sport that the doors are opening for women,” said Connor.

Mrdjenovich said her biggest challenge in boxing has been trying to get people to take her seriously.

“Being a female in athletics is never easy, but now try being a female in a male dominated sport,” she said.

Connor explained that getting Mrdjenovich to come to the camp was important because she is an inspiration for women in boxing.

“Boxing changes you, and I want that for everyone,” said Connor. “It’s not just for fit young girls it’s for absolutely everybody.”

Girls from all around the province came to participate, and all slept and ate together at the community hall throughout the camp.

“I didn’t have anything like this growing up,” said Mrdjenovich. “When I started boxing I didn’t have that female component or someone gender related that I could look up to.”

She explained that she wanted to be a part of the camp because she thinks it’s an amazing event for the girls, and wishes she had something like it when she was younger.

“This should be happening everywhere, not just Sooke. Women should be empowering each other because everyone is counting you out. Everybody is looking at you and thinking you’re going to fail, well why don’t you show them different?” said Mrdjenovich.

Connor said her goal with boxing is to put together a girls team and travel around with them to compete internationally.

“I believe sport for the youth is so important because it teaches you lessons that you can’t learn at home or in school,” said Mrdjenovich. ”It teaches you to be competitive, but also teaches you to be respectful. It teaches you to be an opponent and also a teammate, to win and to lose. It teaches you that when you fall you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward.”

To get involved with the Sooke Boxing Club, contact Ellen Connor at: ellenconnor@shaw.ca.

dawn.gibson@sookenewsmirror.com

 

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