Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 5°C

min temp: -1°C

Search

Ipswich: Inspirational Down’s Syndrome kickboxer wins first title

11:02 24 December 2012

Gavin Harvey, 29, who has Down's Syndrome, has won his first belt at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy.

Gavin Harvey, 29, who has Down's Syndrome, has won his first belt at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy.

Archant

IPSWICH: A kickboxer who suffers from Down’s Syndrome is celebrating after winning his first belt at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy – after just four months of training.

Gavin Harvey, 29, of Thackeray Road, has impressed his instructors and sparring partners with his hard work ethic and positive attitude.

He won his first belt recently – passing his Red Belt 10th kyu, performing in front of the whole class.

Gavin said: “I was very proud of myself for getting my first belt. It was nerve-wracking having to do it in front of everyone but I’m very glad I got my first belt.

“My family and friends were very pleased for me. I get on with everyone at the club really well and they were really pleased for me.

“I think kickboxing is a great sport. I love it. It makes me very happy.”

Gavin, who is married to Katie, who also has Down’s Syndrome, has been training at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy for just four months, from Monday to Thursday every week.

Chief instructor Gary Staff believes kickboxing has given Gavin a whole new outlook in life. “He tells us we’re now part of his family,” he said.

“He was introduced to us through his carer, had a trial, liked us and it’s gone from strength to strength. He’s never looked back.

“He’s actually gone from being quite reserved to a much more confident person now. I think it’s brought more out of him. It’s helped him big time. He’s a changed person.

“He classes us as members of his family. It’s been brilliant getting to know him – he’s a great guy.”

Gary believes Gavin wanted to join the Ipswich Kickboxing Academy because he wanted to be part of a group – although Gary treats him just like anyone, telling him to do push-ups if he steps out of line.

“I treat him just like one of the guys. I don’t give him any special treatment because I believe in treating everyone the same.

“If he steps out of line he has to do press-ups just like everyone else.”

Gary, who has represented Great Britain in European kickboxing championships in a distinguished 25-year career, admits he has learnt a lot from teaching Gavin.

“It’s been a learning curve for me,” he added. “I’ve never taught someone who has Down’s Syndrome but I’m very passionate about what I do and have loved teaching him.”

0 comments

A criminal investigation has been launched by police into a failing care home in Hadleigh at which a resident died.

A crewman has died after a boiler backfired in the engine room of the Manhattan Bridge container ship as it was docking at Felixstowe port last night – causing an “explosion”.

A lorry has burst into flames following a crash with a car on the A14 westbound in Suffolk close to Needham Market.

Urgent improvements have been demanded of three food businesses in east Suffolk, according to hygiene inspection reports.

Animal welfare charities in Suffolk have urged caution over who found pets are given to after reports of a woman in Ipswich posing as an animal welfare officer to obtain a cat found by a homeowner in their garden.

Today the sun is taking the edge off the biting January winds in Suffolk, the perfect winter’s day.

More than half the homes in Suffolk are in the bottom two council tax bands it has emerged.

A Suffolk man has been evicted from his hospital bed by court order after he “unnecessarily” refused to leave for more than two years.

Beach huts, morning runs and golden sand. Not exactly the Felixstowe you might be expecting in January.

Labour’s shadow trade and industry secretary Clive Lewis has visited Ipswich to encourage party members as thoughts start to turn towards this year’s election.

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24