LAURA BARCELÓ, MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL BOXING TEAM

"A lot of people think that boxing is a violent sport, but it is quite the opposite. We don't jump into the ring and hit each other, we jump into the ring and box"

#sport #women #gender equality

At 14 years of age, she is the only girl in the Spanish Boxing Federation of Schoolboys and Schoolgirls Boxing technique development program, and the only child training with the national team. After a break for personal reasons — she started at the age of five — Laura says that boxing has made her stronger. Her greatest ambition: the Olympic Games 2024.

LISTEN TO LAURA BARCELÓ'S STORY

Laura Barceló, member of the national boxing team: "I said I would never touch another boxing glove. I didn't want to watch the boys train".

Begoña Calderón, Laura's mother: "She had a lot of psychological difficulties. That person hurt her a lot and she associated boxing with him. And she said: 'I never want to box again'. And she stopped".

Adrián Carrasco, Laura's trainer: "She had a rather difficult childhood and she has emerged from it like the champion she is".

Laura Barceló: "Thanks to Adri, here I am here again and, also thanks to him, I am in the national team and it's all because of him."

Adrián Carrasco: "Sometimes I brought her along and she just sat and watched the guys training... She's a warrior, and one day she decided she wanted to train".

Begoña Calderón: "She put on the bandages and gloves and she went off again. And she's at it. Going back to boxing has helped her to get over everything. She didn't box for him, but because she really liked it".

Adrián Carrasco: "It has made her stronger to face boxing and to lead her life".

Laura Barceló: "Everyone who trains me says: 'Hey! How come such a beautiful, pretty girl boxes?'"

Begoña Calderón: "She always says: 'Why do they ask me that?'. She gets really annoyed".

Laura Barceló: "It's normal, the same thing that my older colleagues do. And we don't want differential treatment because we are girls or boys, or pretty, ugly or whatever".

"I was 13 years old when Rafael Lozano told me that on Monday I would start training with the national team. It was like... Good grief!"

Begoña Calderón: "On the first day, I went along and I saw a lot of boys and when I saw her walking into the room with all the boys, I said [gesture of surprise]".

Laura Barceló: "At the beginning it was a bit strange being there with all those guys, all champions and you're the only girl there, new, and you don't know how to do much...”

Rafael Lozano, national boxing coach: "Laura is capable of making sacrifices and, above all, she's persistent".

Laura Barceló: "I don't get treated differently and I am very happy. I am just one of the group and there's no difference between us".

Rafael Lozano: “She's a child, she isn't an adult and you have to work with her little by little".

Laura Barceló: "A lot of people think that boxing is a violent sport, but it is quite the opposite. We don't jump into the ring and hit each other, we jump into the ring and box".

"I'd love to get picked for the Paris Olympics in 2024. That's my goal and I'm going to do everything that is possible to achieve it".