Thorp Academy

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Rogers targets more titles

SHE might be the only girl boxer at her club, but Sophie Rogers can certainly land a punch - and has the title to prove it.

SHE might be the only girl boxer at her club, but Sophie Rogers can certainly land a punch – and has the titles to prove it.

The Year 12 student at Ryton’s Thorp Academy followed up success in the Tyne Tees and Wear Championships by reaching the semi-final of the England Youth Championship.

And Simran Kaur, who defeated her, went on to win the national title, leaving Sophie to focus on making sure she learns from the experience and gets even stronger.

Sophie said: “Simran went on to win the Europeans as well. I was happy with my performance, I did quite well again. It was my first three rounds of three minutes, so to reach that stage was good for me. You start with the regionals and move on to the nationals.”

The 16-year-old, who has a birthday in July, has impressed Thorp’s S&C coach Alan Toward with her dedication and desire to improve.

Alan said: “It’s good to see someone put so much effort into their training and come out on top in their sport. Hopefully we can help her continue to develop.”

Sophie is studying A-levels in media, photography and PE and has ideas of securing a job in sport, and as a boxing coach.

She is also determined to keep entering the ring and hopes to land more titles as she gets older, under the guidance of her coach Ernie Blenkin at Dunston ABC.

Sophie said: “I am the only girl who boxes there, it was a bit strange being the only girl but I got used to it and they are all nice people. I don’t feel awkward.

“I spar with girls from other gyms when they come over. When I first started I just felt I was naturally quite good at it.

“I was running and throwing punches around, but now I use my jab a bit more and try to be more tactical in how I box.”

Sophie has to travel 25 minutes from her family home near Consett to Dunston, such is her dedication. The regular travel time just to get to the gym could easily have put other people off.

The Elite Performer Programme scholar at Thorp said: “When I first started I rang loads of places to see where I could go, not everywhere accepted boys and girls.

“I was 11-12 at the time. My dad, Glenn, was a big fan of boxing, he is a coach for Dunston now too. He really liked it. My dad asked my younger brother to give it a go, I said I would as well and I love it.”

But how did it feel to be crowned an area champion?

Sophie said: “It was at Dunston, I boxed a girl called Macy Kilkenny from East Middlesbrough. I didn’t even realise it was for a title! The referee told me to go back and I won the medal. I felt really good, quite shocked. I won at Birtley in 2016 too.”