AN INSPIRING supported learning student from Southam, who found his passion in the boxing ring, has passed his coaching badges with England Boxing.
Nineteen-year-old Joe McNab, who studies catering at Leamington College, was invited down to Leamington Community Boxing Club after his college tutor Babs Kandola spotted his potential during PE lessons.
After spending a couple of years training in the gym, the Southam resident decided to take on a course to complete his coaching badges and will now be using his experience to train other young people at the club.
Joe contracted meningitis as a baby, which left him with severe learning difficulties and a speech impediment as a result of micrognathia.
He first began boxing after working with his tutor Mr Kandola in weekly PE lessons at the college as part of the Skillbuilder – Skills for Life course. Since then, he trains twice a week at the Leamington Community Boxing Club and does strength work at the gym once a week.
With his coaching badges now passed, he will be volunteering as a coach at the club. Joe is in the final year of his course at Leamington College and aspires to working in the hospitality and catering industry.
He told the Observer: “I was studying at the college and was really enjoying my work in the PE lessons, so Babs invited me down to the boxing gym and it all went from there.
“The work in the boxing gym has improved my mental and physical strength, my listening skills and discipline. Due to my brain injury, I can only do body sparring in the gym but that hasn’t stopped me loving the sport. I really enjoy teaching boxing and it’s something that I want to continue to do.
“Babs, Carol Savage and the other staff at the college have been really supportive of me. They’ve helped me with any issues I’ve had and were absolutely brilliant during lockdown.
“After finishing up my own sessions I have stayed around to support with training sessions of the younger children. The club is really inclusive and I’ve made some great friends there.
“I hope I can continue volunteering at the gym as trainer as I look to start working in catering after leaving the college later this year.”
Joe’s mum, Sarah McNab, added: “Joe has blossomed in the last couple of years. He is looking after himself more and doing more for himself. That is connected to the college course, the boxing and the gym as well. It’s a nice journey that he is on into adulthood at the moment and we’re proud of the work he continues to do.”
While Mr Kandola said: “Joe is an inspirational young man and has been learning all the time since he first came to the boxing gym. He improves and develops his coaching skills every day and for him now to have achieved his badges is a magnificent achievement.
“Joe has a real determination to succeed and he is a great credit to both Leamington College and Leamington Community Boxing Club.”