Czech Republic: Boxing club gets boys and girls off the streets of excluded localities
Patrik Horváth, David Tokár and René Pokuta established the Boxing King Club in Ostrava a year and a half ago. They had no experience with managing a boxing club but put their minds to it and the outcomes their charges have achieved after a year of operations are motivating them to continue.
"It all began in 2013 when we brought our boys for the first time to a boxing training in what was then the Sokol Vítkovice gym. The boys really enjoyed boxing from their very first training and we basically enjoyed it too. After a couple of months of training our boys went into the ring and began to win in their categories, and it all culminated in their placing for the nationwide championship. Suddenly they were the champions of the country and a representative trainer also noticed them. Thanks to that they made it into the Czech national representation and have gone to international tournaments, for example, in Germany, Poland and Slovakia, from which they mostly brought back first or second-place results," says Horváth.
In 2016 the boxing section where the young boxers had been practicing closed, so the boys fathers' began to look for another club where the children could apply their boxing experience. Local clubs at the time could not accept them because they were full, however.
"The chair of the North Moravian boxing area proposed that we establish our own club and train the boys ourselves. Thanks to support from community workers Irena Štulíková and Růžena Dunková, working as part of a project run by the Moravian-Silesian Regional Authority, 'Support for community work in the Moravian-Silesian Region', we established the club in the autumn and called it Boxing King Club," says Horváth, who is the main trainer.
During their first year of operations the club managed to achieve several successes. Thanks to local support their charges were able, for example, to participate in the national boxing championship, where Marek Horváth took silver and Robin Tokár won the gold medal.
Most of the activities are being financed by the members from their own resources, but the boxers are hoping that somebody in the neighborhood will notice that their activity is meaningful and will aid them with staying in operation. Currently there is a crowdsourcing call on the HitHit.cz website where people can support the boxing club with contributions.
"We are doing our best to attract as many boys and girls to the gym as possible so they won't spend their time in bad company. We grew up in socially excluded localities ourselves and we are aware of the temptations that exist here for children and youth," Horváth explains.
In that regard the club is doing very well, with up to 30 children attending the gym. "The newcomers to our club have already completed their first competitions, they acquitted themselves honorably and are enthusiastic to train further," Horváth said.
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