Kickboxing program expands to offer sport to girls age 11 to 15
Published Monday, September 8, 2014 11:54AM CST Last Updated Monday, September 8, 2014 2:27PM CST
It’s a sport that’s packing a punch with women across the province.
So much so that a women’s-only gym has introduced kickboxing to girls as young as 11 for the first time.
13-year-old Skylar Carswell is one of Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing’s latest recruits.
"I saw it on TV and I thought it looked cool,” said Carswell. “I love to fight. I love to wrestle with my brother and I thought it would be a cool thing."
Two-time Canadian kick-boxing champion Trisha Sammons opened the women's only kickboxing gym seven years ago.
She said watching her own daughter excel in the sport made her want to expand the program to girls ages 11 to 15
"When I was competing, we never had that opportunity - seeing women come into certain gyms and feeling uncomfortable, [but] knowing that it's all women, they feel comfortable to come in."
But the sport of kickboxing is limited in Manitoba for boys and girls.
It's not sanctioned, which means amateur competitive fighting is outlawed in the province.
Fighters Chelsea Breland and Whitney Henderson each have a number of bouts under their belts.
But, they've had to travel outside of Manitoba to compete.
"I have so many friends who want to watch me fight and they can't watch me fight. Yeah, they can see it on YouTube, but to have your home crowd there would be special," said Henderson.
"It would be super great to fight in front of your home crowd, your own friends and family, there are so many kickboxing gyms in Winnipeg it would be pretty neat,” she said.
Winnipeg Women's Kickboxing and other gyms in the city are circulating a petition asking the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission and the province to recognize the sport.
The process could take up to three years, meaning Henderson and Breland will continue to make road trips in order to compete.
Trisha Sammon’s gym holds women’s classes seven days a week. Classes for girls are held on Fridays and Sundays.