Cerebral Palsy no barrier to Kate’s boxing training
June 14, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny
Kate Farley is living proof that boxing can motivate and inspire absolutely anyone – no matter what may be their circumstances or background.
The 29-year-old from Bournemouth has cerebral palsy that affects all four of her limbs and makes difficult a host of day-today tasks that other people take for granted.
But once she enters the gym at Poole ABC, her determination and positive attitude, together with a warm welcome from coaches and staff, means there are no barriers to her enjoyment.
From first starting two months ago, she now trains several times a week alongside her clubmates, boxing in a kneeling position.
Sparring on knees
“I can’t express to you how much I’m loving it!” said Kate. “I’m really getting involved with the group, and included in all aspects of the training, even sparring on my knees.
“I really wanted to physically and mentally push myself and I saw boxing as a discipline that would accommodate my desire to challenge myself. I also wanted to be the fittest I could and I have always had a fighting spirit, so boxing was a natural choice for me.
“Being physical disabled, but so passionate about boxing, it’s the best feeling being able to train with such lovely, like-minded people who share the same interest and hugely challenge you in equal measure.
“When I’m boxing I forget that I’m disabled because I’m so focused on the task in hand. I could not ask for nicer coaches, they’ve really taken me on, made me feel completely comfortable and seem to be very supportive of what I’m doing.
“Although I’m the minority within the group, not only being the only disabled boxer but also, more often than not, the only girl, I’ve never felt more welcome and at home – especially when I’m in the ring!”
Poole’s Head Coach, Neal Partridge has been thrilled with the progress Kate has made so far, particularly in such a short period of time.
He hopes that other clubs will look to follow the South Coast club’s example and do more to make themselves accommodating to people with disabilities.
Opening up clubs to accommodate boxers with disabilities
He said: “Kate has integrated far more fluently than any of us could have hoped for – she is training regularly and is really starting to socialise well with the other club members.
“It has been a real learning curve for everyone involved and just goes to show what is possible if we just try to be more open to people with disabilities, regardless of we think we already are.
Fellow coach Gilbert Ambrose has worked closely with Kate and said: “She’s now become more relaxed than when she first joined us, and we have started to see the real her, who likes a joke and is very funny.
“The other boxers tell me it’s great to see someone not as able as others giving it a go. Hopefully it should inspire more people to try boxing, especially women, as she’s really one of the team now.”
As for Kate herself, she is keen to see others with disabilities follow in her footsteps by using boxing as a workout.
“I’m extremely keen to pioneer disabled boxing in any way I can and inspire others,” she said. “I love challenging people’s perceptions.
“Most people would never look at me and believe I box. But I’m strong, determined, motivated and passionate about the sport, so I think there’s no real reason why I shouldn’t.
“Okay, I box a little differently, on my knees, but I still train to the same principles as a non-disabled boxer, to the best of my abilities.
“I receive messages daily from others with disabilities saying after watching my training videos they are now joining boxing clubs, which is the best feeling. Knowing that I’m encouraging disabled people to take up a discipline they initially assumed they would never be able to do is great. I want to continue to pioneer disabled boxing from now on.
“I’m currently investigating motivational speaking and travelling with the intention of illustrating how I box to others, so hopefully more people can do what I do.”
To follow Kate’s training updates and videos, visit @girlboxerwithcp on Instagram.