Boxing Days Successfully Conducted

Together with the U.S office of Palestinian affairs and  Humpty Dumpty Institute we successfully conducted 5 days of empowering boxing courses for girls and women in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza. US boxers; Tibor Luhasz, Ronica Jeffrey, Melissa St-Vil and Raquel Harris, arrived on the 18th of February in Ramallah, Palestine.

After a little walk in Ramallah and some new cultural experiences, the boxers were excited to start with the boxing training on Sunday. Our team picked them up, and all together we maneuvered through Ramallah rush hour in the morning. Day one was packed with over 70 girls coming from primary schools, Universities as well as individually motivated girls from all around Palestine. It was a special moment for all of us, once the girls were listening carefully to the motivational words our athletes told them and how they have achieved to come so far in boxing and in sports in general. The days have been organized around an inspirational welcome talk in the morning to get to know the boxers which was continued by the fist wrapping of each of the girls. After that, a little warm up was held and the girls got to know the first boxing steps and commands. Every day we tried to spice up the warm up a bit and get the girls into the mood with some music and fun exercises. Then the girls split up and each coach got their own share of participants to train. It was great to see how the girls were participating, having fun and how they got to know the sport of boxing. Footwork was addressed, basic punches and pad works and of course some cardio with the skip rope. Thanks to our coaches we could adapt the workouts to the needs of the girls, some more basic, some more advanced in order to cover all the needs of the girls participating.

On Tuesday, after three days of intense training in person in the Al Fahed Sports Academy, Tibor, Ronica, Melissa and Raquel were invited to hold a live broadcast in the Palestinian Radio. Talking about their experience in Palestine, with the girls and of course as well how they became the boxers they are today. It was an afternoon full of insights, beautiful exchanges and gave us a moment to remember how important our work with the kids in sports development is for their individual development.

After 3 intense days in Ramallah with a lot of boxing, talking and insights for our boxers as well as for the girls in different cultures and the life of the others, it was time to say goodbye. Jerusalem and even more girls that wanted to be trained were waiting for our boxing coaches.

Wednesday morning, the start of the Women’s empowerment boxing program in Jerusalem at the Arab Sports Center in East Jerusalem. New Gym, new girls and a already tuned in team. It was great to see how the boxers and we from PS4L got to be a great team together. So it was easy to adapt to new surroundings and everybody knew what she or he had to do. The trainings were well organized, all the girls got entertained and many of them profited a great deal of what our coaches were able to teach them. After a great day 4, we got to show our guest from the US the old city of Jerusalem. Walked through the old markets and the tiny alleys and showed them how all the different cultures and religions somehow manage or sometimes not to be on top of each other. As we came back home that day, sadly the news caught up with us. The conflicts that we are trying to work on day by day through a peaceful way with sports, have escalated in the north of Palestine. Eleven Palestinians have been killed and sadly over 100 have been injured during an Israeli Raid in the city of Nablus. A City where some of our participants came from, girls that we just had met during this week. Due to these circumstances, all shops and school were closed the following day, which meant that there were no boxing activities at the gym.

After one day of break and a lot of talking to our athletes, we were happy that we were able to continue the program on the last day, on Friday. It was good to be back in the gym, seeing all the happy faces of the kids being able to participate in the trainings even though their lives are always confronted with the consequences of this ongoing conflict. After having a great first session with our last school class, a second training was on the plan. This time, the boxing girls from the gym. And these girls were ready to be trained, full on with a lot of power and determination. The last session was also the hardest one, for our coaches as well as for the girls that have been trained. In the end it was a wholesome experience, seeing them sitting in this little circle, ten young women all inspired by the three grown boxers sitting in front of them, answering their questions and as well asking them questions about their sport and their life.

In the end, we would like to thank all the people that made this week possible, that made it possible that all these girls were able to participate and that made it possible for these girls to forget about their surroundings for a second and just focus on boxing.