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Overweight Darlington teen sheds stones to become Olympic hopeful boxer
AN OVERWEIGHT teenager with chronic asthma has transformed himself into a successful athlete with the help of a North-East boxing club.
“You can’t buy that on Ebay” is what 14-year-old Mitchell Singh tells himself when he looks in the mirror these days.
His confidence has not always been so high. Just a year ago, Mitchell was several stone overweight, in the bottom sets for PE at school and facing a daily struggle with chronic asthma.
Today, the lightweight boxer has his sights set on Olympic glory, after shedding his excess weight, improving his health and winning every fight he has participated in.
Mitchell, from Skerne Park in Darlington, credits the transformation to the supportive atmosphere at the town’s Ward Degnans Boxing Club.
He said: “I was really scared the first time I went because I thought I was the biggest one there but nobody called me names.
“It’s like one big family. They set me little goals and I started getting attention and the weight came off without me noticing.
“If there’s anyone in the same situation as me, I’d tell them to go to the gym and not be embarrassed, it’s good fun.”
Mitchell’s mother, Janine McFarlane, said the change in her son had been amazing.
She said: “Boxing is not a sport I wanted him to get into but I’ve supported him and it’s amazing to see the transformation, people do not recognise him.
“His confidence is overflowing and he has really come out of his shell.
“He’s been treated for chronic asthma all of his life and now it’s much better, he uses a lot less medication.
“People say kids on estates are under-privileged but Mitchell proves that while every estate has its problems there are people there who are doing really well.”
Former Commonwealth boxing champion Argie Ward, who runs the gym with his brother Frankie, said Mitchell was one of their biggest success stories.
He said: “We look after the kids as much as we can and show them that boxing can give a new lease of life.
“I show people photos of Mitchell and they can’t believe it’s the same kid.
“It proves that boxing gives confidence and discipline, opens doors for people and gives them opportunities.”
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