William praises power of sport while demonstrating boxing prowess

Kate joined her husband at the former London 2012 venue in east London.

13 October 2022

The Prince of Wales has praised the power of sport to provide “hope, connection and opportunity” as he showed off his pugilist skills.

William donned boxing gloves and was put through his paces hitting a bag and sparring as he celebrated the 10th anniversary of the charity Coach Core, established by his Royal Foundation.

Kate joined her husband at the former London 2012 venue, the Copper Box Arena at east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to try wheelchair bowls while her husband could not resist a penalty shoutout challenge.

Royal visit to the Copper Box Arena
The Princess of Wales bowling during a visit to the Copper Box Arena (Heathcliff O’Malley/Daily Telegraph/PA)

In a speech to mark the 10-year milestone of Coach Core, now an independent charity, the prince spoke of the “incredible achievements” of the organisation which aims to train the next generation of sports coaches who will themselves inspire their communities.

The celebration allowed Coach Core apprentices to show guests, who included representations from the charity’s partner organisations, activities like boxing, wheelchair bowls and a version of pool, where cues and balls were replaced by footballs with the balls kicked into large pockets.

Royal visit to the Copper Box Arena
The Prince of Wales takes part in an event with Coach Core (Heathcliff O’Malley/Daily Telegraph/PA)

The pugilist prince tried boxing under the watchful eye of amateur boxers Gabrielle Reid, 18, and 21-year-old Joshua Jones – who are both two months into their Coach Core courses and took it in turns to give the future king a brief training session.

The 18-year-old from Bournemouth watched as William snapped out the jabs and combination shots and then handed him over to her colleague who lightly sparred with the royal.

Ms Reid said: “He picked it up very fast and he said he had boxed before. I didn’t have to teach him much. I’m not going to forget this experience, it was crazy.”

The 21-year-old added: “I just went over the fundamentals of boxing I showed him the jab, backhand and I showed him how to throw a one-two, and his stance and guard.

“He enjoyed it, he said he’d done a bit a before but had a little knuckle injury so wouldn’t be taking it up any time soon.”

In his speech William said: “Sport has an incredible way of providing hope, connection and opportunity and when Coach Core was established ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, it was designed to use that power to help change young people’s lives.

“Since then, more than 750 young people have been supported through the programme, with 600,000 sports sessions delivered to eight million participants.

“We are both so proud of all the remarkable progress that has been made. To all the Coach Core apprentices, we want to say well done and also – thank you.

“We all face barriers and challenges in life, and these can sometimes take incredible bravery to overcome. Not only have you faced these down, you have positively impacted the lives of others along the way and inspired many more.”

Royal visit to the Copper Box Arena
The Princess of Wales laughs during a visit to the Copper Box Arena (Heathcliff O’Malley/Daily Telegraph/PA)

Kate sat down to make up a team of three when she tried her hand at wheelchair bowls, and laughed as her effort rolled past the jack, with her second attempt also missing the target but the opposing team fared better.

William, president of the FA, stood behind a ball as he eyed an empty goal with targets in the net and said: “To get it in there is good enough”, but let out a groan as his first shot missed the bullseye, while his second effort came even closer.

The princess chatted to Scott Cooper, 26, from Grays, Essex, who completed his Coach Core programme and is now a youth worker with Barking and Dagenham Council.

The 26-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was praised by Kate after he said he wanted to motivate others with a disability to become youth workers.

He said: “I was telling her I wanted to inspire people with disabilities, and she said that I would be an inspiration because of the way I showed grit and determination.”

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