By Amy Farnworth
Incredible footage shows how a glam blonde left wheelchair-bound by cerebral palsy has been given a new lease of life – by taking up boxing on her KNEES.
Kate Farley, 29, was born with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, a form of the condition which creates stiffness and tension in the muscles, resulting in restrictions to her movements and leaving her unable to grip things properly or walk long distances.
But when the fitness fanatic, from Bournemouth, Dorset, took up boxing in 2017 after a chance meeting with her childhood hero Scorpio, from TV gameshow Gladiators, she found it improved her core strength and the muscles in her arms, giving her a new lease of life!
Now freelance writer Kate – who boxes by balancing on her knees – wants to inspire others with disabilities to take up boxing by becoming the face of the sport – and even make it an official Paralympic event.
Kate, who posts videos of her training sessions on her Instagram account, @girlboxerwithcp, said: “Boxing has helped me in ways I could never have dreamed of.
“With my Cerebral Palsy it takes so much more effort to exert my energies, so I have to work twice as hard as anyone else.
“My hands aren’t very good, and my legs are quite weak, but that’s not stopped me.
“I’m a very determined person and I’ve never let my disability prevent me from doing the things I want to do.
“I have such a strong core now, and my upper body has improved, and I have muscles in places that I never thought you could get them.
“I have a toned back, shoulders and arms; but it’s really helped my co-ordination, my responses, my reflexes; it’s made me stronger physically and emotionally and I just feel so much better about myself and a lot more confident.
Before she took up boxing, Kate didn’t posses the self-confidence that boxing has given her, would never have dreamt of going to a gym alone and she could barely grip a tennis ball.
She said: “Boxing can physically, emotionally, and mentally help with a disability as well as helping to improve your fitness.
“I’d like to inspire other people with disabilities to take it up, girls in particular, because boxing is quite a male dominated sport.
“It has so many positive benefits.”
At the moment, due to rules and regulations and the complexities surrounding health and safety, boxing is not an official Paralympic sport.
But Kate, who has a degree in fashion journalism, said she wants to see how far she could take boxing for people with disabilities and wants to help turn it into a sport in which people can compete at Paralympic level in the future.
Amazing footage shows Kate sparring on her knees with PT, Matthew Furnell, at his gym in Bournemouth.
And recently, she’s joined Poole Amateur Boxing Club in Dorset in a bid to kick start disability inclusion in clubs across the country.
Kate said: “When I met Scorpio at a fitness event, we did a bit of boxing at the end of the session.
“It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that and it made me feel really empowered.
“When I was boxing I felt fit and strong and very capable; I loved it.
“Now I want to be the face of boxing for people with disabilities.
“I’ve already had so many messages from people all over the world who’ve said I’ve inspired them to get into boxing and I want this to continue.
“England Boxing have even been in touch with me after seeing my Instagram account and want to work with me to help boxing become a sport that’s inclusive for all.
“I love boxing and the way it makes me feel and it’s something I want to pursue; and hopefully one day it will become a Paralympic sport.
“I’ve always been into sport and I was lucky enough to be involved with a training session with one of the ex-gladiators last January.”
“My PT, Matthew, works me really hard and he knows I want to push myself and want to get as good as I can.”
Ron Tulley, Head of Development for England Boxing, said: “We have a long way to go before we get boxing into the Paralympics.
“But England Boxing are very inclusive and pro-disability and Kate is a very determined and charismatic person, so she would make a great role model for disability boxing.
“She’s been attending the club in Poole and we hope this will set the benchmark and make other clubs realise that there’s no reason why they can’t be more inclusive of all kinds of disabilities.”