South Yorkshire teenage girl sets sights on Olympic Games

Poppy O'Neill
Poppy O'Neill

A South Yorkshire teenager attending free boxing sessions set up by the county’s police force has her sights set on becoming an Olympic champion.

Poppy O’Neill, aged 15, from Swinton, attends free boxing sessions set up by South Yorkshire Police to provide activities to keep youngsters off the streets.

Poppy O'Neill

Poppy O'Neill

Free football and dance sessions for 10-19-year-olds are also held as part of the SportFX project, which is funded and supported by South Yorkshire Sport, the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association, England Boxing, Sheffield and Hallam University Sports Park and Exigo Boxing.

Poppy, who attends sessions at Swinton Community School, impressed her boxing coaches so much those behind the SportFX project funded a place for her on a 25-week sports science course at Sheffield Hallam University.

She hopes it will help her fulfil her dream of competing in the Olympic Games.

Poppy said: “The strength and conditioning course is designed to make boxers faster, fitter and stronger, and I’m already seeing improvements.

“I’m really enjoying the course and am grateful to SportFX for arranging this.

“I am also doing GCSE P.E. at school and hope to use my boxing to improve my grade.

“My ultimate goal is to represent my country and be the best boxer I can be. It would be my dream come true to win a gold medal.

Police Community Support Officer Craig Butcher, who runs SportFX, said: “Poppy is an excellent example of how SportFX can help to develop talented young people and signpost them toward further education or training opportunities.”