It was that greatest of sportsmen Mohammed Ali who coined the phrase “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Now two young women at The Hunslet Club are epitomising that saying.
At age 11, Abby Briggs has already been boxing for six years. She has just spent the summer attending Yorkshire Boxing training camps and has been selected to join the Yorkshire Girls Team.
Abby took up boxing at the club aged 5 because her brother Jack did it. She also tried gymnastics, which mum Shelley coached, and rugby, which her dad Carl coached. She won most outstanding player in the Under 7s rugby squad two years running, but it is boxing she has committed to.
This year has seen her first competitive fight. Although winners are not declared at this age, it was clear that she had won the bout easily. In July she joined the rest of the Hunslet Club boxing team on their trip to Dublin to participate in the Monkstown Cup. Her skills bout was stopped after the first round as she was too powerful for her opponent.
Life isn’t all about boxing for Abby, although she trains four nights a week, she also finds time to spend with friends and enjoys visits to the family’s caravan. She did well in her SATS tests at school and has just started at Cockburn School.
Her ambition is to be a professional boxer, but that doesn’t happen she would like to train as a physiotherapist.
Meanwhile, upstairs from the boxing gym in the dance studio you will find another young woman, equally as determined as Abby.
Darcy-Leigh Telford has been talent spotted by the Northern Ballet Theatre and recently starred in their end of year show.
Her career at The Hunslet Club started even earlier than Abby’s. Darcy-Leigh took part in Football4Tots aged just 3. Again she was following in the steps of her brother Kieran and helped by football coach dad, Shane.
She tried Hip-Hop next and it was suggested she try ballet. She didn’t like it at first – it was “too girlie.” But by the time she was 8 most of her friends had taken it up so she gave a second go and this time she really enjoyed it.
She tried out for Northern Ballet Theatre after the Hunslet Club’s summer show was held at their theatre last year. She loves the great teachers at NBT and the advice they offer. Darcy-Leigh’s sticking with ballet – she likes the elegance of the movement and she loves to perform.
At school she enjoys writing and science and is looking forward to her time at Royds School. She would like to be a professional dancer, but if that doesn’t work out she would like to be a midwife.
Remember the names: Abby Briggs and Darcy-Leigh Telford, we expect to hear a lot more of them in the future.