Champion Boxer Amy Broadhurst Talks The Importance Of Body Confidence For Girls In Sport

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Worldwide champion boxer Amy Broadhurst knows what it’s like to be a young woman in the sports world.

In fact, the Dundalk native has been boxing since she was five years old!

Of course, being a young woman in sport presents a unique set of challenges; and one of the most devastating has to do with body image and confidence.

We caught up with Amy to chat about their recent campaign on body confidence in sport, and how mentorship can help you to overcome body image issues.


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During an in-depth study of young Irish girls between 10 and 17, Dove found that 1 in 3 young girls in Ireland have considered quitting sports due to low self esteem and body confidence.

Half of the girls surveyed tend to compare themselves to others during exercise, while an equal number feel self-conscious when changing in the changing rooms.

However, among the disheartening results of their survey, something positive appeared; the importance of having strong mentors.

It turns out that 8 in 10 young girls in Ireland believe that their coach or mentor plays a pivotal role in helping them to feel confident and comfortable participating in sports.


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Moreover, a striking 8 in 10 girls in Ireland show a keen interest in learning more about body confidence and self-esteem from their coach or mentor!

With this in mind, Dove teamed up with Nike to launch a body confident sport programme, which is designed to be delivered by coaches and mentors to educate young Irish girls about harmful gender stereotypes, athletic ideals and appearance.

It’ll help girls to connect with their bodies in a positive way by equipping them with useful knowledge and strategies. We’re obsessed!

Speaking on her own insecurities growing up as a boxer, Amy acknowledges how as a young woman she was hard on herself.

“I’ve been in boxing since I was five years old. Throughout the years my body has changed in ways that were hard for me to accept, because when I was [younger] I was at a weight category where I felt in really good shape, and when my body developed and I couldn’t make that anymore, I was becoming self conscious of the fact that I’d have to go up a weight category.

“It took me a long time to accept that I couldn’t go back.”


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Amy explains how she came to learn that there was nothing wrong with her body changing; and that it took losing a match to realise that your body is part of your power in sport!

“I learned a very big lesson at the Europeans. I was boxing at a certain weight, and in my mind I wouldn’t let myself go above that. In hindsight, that didn’t do me any favours at all.

“I brought my size down, and I was beaten by a girl who used her size against me. I learned a big lesson in that sense…and I’m on the creatine now!” she laughs.

As for why it’s so important to have a positive influence in a mentor, Amy feels that the right coach can make a huge difference.

“I just think having someone there that you can go and speak to… if you’re having a bad day, just saying you know I’m not feeling happy in myself, it’s always nice to have a coach there that can encourage you and make you feel better about yourself.”

Amy can particularly relate to the importance of a supportive coach; she credits her dad as being her number one supporter and always boosting her confidence in her body.

“He’d be completely supportive, with the weight…he’d never put my body down. He’s been amazing throughout my whole career, as I was saying the other day I don’t know where I’d be without him,” she admits.

Speaking to why young girls really need someone like her dad there to help them through, Amy reflects on the pressures on young women in sport.

“The likes of all athletes, like myself, and Ellen Keane, [we’ve] probably gone through the same sort of thing in different ways.

“I think the stats show it in itself, 40 percent of young girls have opted out of sport because they’re conscious in how they are in their body. Being able to speak about it and encourage these girls to not be self conscious and accept themselves for the way they are, it makes a big difference.


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“I think it’s amazing that Dove have started this campaign, and I think it’s going to help so many young girls in sport and in general, to feel confident about themselves.’

As for what Amy would say to young Irish girls who are worried that sport will change their body – the boxer wants them to know that they shouldn’t let conventional beauty standards stop them from following their dreams.

“I’d say…go for it.

“If you line up every high performance boxer, not one of us has the same body shape, or the same muscle tone. We’re all built in different ways and it’s the same in every sport, you’re not going to be identical to the next person up from you. You just have to accept your body and have the confidence to go in and start the sport that you want to be a part of.”

That’s what we love to hear!