Young boxers speak of fight for better life

Father Christmas with Samantha Roberts and her daughter Chloe Blanford, four, and Sheila Blanford 

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TWO boxing brothers who fled war-torn Sudan as children in hope of a better life have spoken of their hopes for the future.

Ahmed Adenas, 22, and Walid Adenas, 19, fled the African country in 2011 and are now under the wing of Portsmouth boxing coach Q Shillingford, who is tipping them for big things at Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy.

From left, Walid Adenas, boxing coach Q Shillingford, Ahmed Adenas, and Shamila Dhana and Frances Pilling from the Red Cross 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170734-1)

From left, Walid Adenas, boxing coach Q Shillingford, Ahmed Adenas, and Shamila Dhana and Frances Pilling from the Red Cross Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170734-1)

The brothers were at an event for World Refugee Day on Tuesday, held at the University of Portsmouth.

The day aimed to highlight the contributions refugees make, and the event showcased artwork, poetry and music, and featured talks by asylum seekers from across the city.

Speaking about their flight from Sudan and arrival in the UK, Ahmed said: ‘It was difficult. Life’s different, the people are so different, the work we do is different, our language is so different.

‘We don’t talk in the gym – just bam, bam. Through sport, we meet new people, live life better.’

The brothers met their 49-year-old coach at a Sudanese community event in 2013.

He fought back tears as he spoke at Portsmouth’s World Refugee Day festival, and recalled his boxers’ journey.

‘All their frustration and emotion were there in training,’ he said.

‘Their determination to succeed – they were born fighting. You get given cards in life, and these guys got ones and twos – but they got an ace to come here, find the gym. Now they’ve got aces and kings.

‘They’ve changed their cards and played it well.’

The brothers balance college and boxing – and finished the season on the verge of representing England.

‘We don’t have time to get out, to hang with friends. We train and study, train and study,’ said Ahmed, who is the south’s light welterweight champion.

Q added: ‘I’m looking forward to September – big things for the city.’

Walid said: ‘We want the whole world to know us – where we’re from, what we do – we want to be world champions.’

Ahmed added: ‘We believe in ourselves, our trainers – and I know what I’m going to do, I know myself.

‘One day soon, we’re world champions.’