Milk Magazine (English) - - CONTENTS - Text: Aman­dine Grosse - Photo: Élodie Daguin

Lu­cile Wood­ward, sports coach Sarah Ou­rah­moune, world box­ing cham­pion

Sarah Ou­rah­moune is France’s boxer with the most medals to her credit. Via her as­so­ci­a­tion Boxer In­side and her up­com­ing book (Robert Laf­font), she de­fends her com­mit­ments as a woman and ath­lete. She has a 4-year-old daugh­ter, Ayna.

You started box­ing at 16. What made you choose this sport?

It was pure chance. I’d just moved into the area and was look­ing for some­where to do tae kwon do, but the place had just burnt down. Out of cu­rios­ity, I wan­dered into the box­ing gym next door. It was a mag­nif­i­cent gym. The trainer per­suaded me to have a go. I was im­me­di­ately drawn to the at­mos­phere and strate­gies im­ple­mented in the ring.

Which val­ues does box­ing pass on to young peo­ple?

A lot! I’d say self-con­fi­dence, push­ing your lim­its, em­pa­thy and bounc­ing back again af­ter los­ing. At 16, I was very in­tro­verted. Box­ing set me free. It also helped me to re­assess my­self quickly af­ter each lit­tle phys­i­cal or men­tal mis­take. It builds up strong mind­sets!

Does box­ing help ado­les­cents to man­age their emo­tions?

Yes. When one gets an­gry in the ring, one in­evitably makes mis­takes. Sanc­tions are im­me­di­ate. So one has to con­trol one’s stress and emo­tions in or­der to come out on top.

How did your high-pro­file box­ing ca­reer in­flu­ence your daugh­ters life?

My daugh­ter is quite at home in the box­ing world. When she was six months old, I used to take her with me when I was train­ing for the Olympics. Which, more­over, en­cour­aged me to be very ef­fi­cient and to re­turn to box­ing in the best con­di­tions! She liked to come and see me and played at copy­ing me. But, for the mo­ment, she says she doesn’t want to box.

You’ve founded the as­so­ci­a­tion Boxer In­side which, amongst other things, of­fers box­ing lessons com­bined with a day nurs­ery. Where did you get this idea from?

I wanted to en­cour­age young moth­ers to box but re­al­ity soon hit me: how hard it was to find a time of day when they’d be avail­able. It wasn’t a lack of mo­ti­va­tion that pre­vented them from com­ing to sign up, but the fact that they had to look af­ter their child(ren). But I man­aged to find a slot and they came!

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