Giants Boxing Academy founder Craig McDougall can’t wait to open a purpose- built complex to share with Central Districts Cricket, as well as Aikido, fencing and possibly table tennis, at the Mitre 10 Park.
Craig and his 140-plus members – mostly youth whom many regarded as ‘at risk’ – will move from their inner-city premises to the sports park in August.
Funding has come from Lotteries, gaming trusts and local supporter Rodney Green, with $1.6 million of the $2 million confirmed, and Craig sees the potential for future expansion.
“It gives us a permanent and sustainable home for both the Hastings Giants Boxing Academy and the Hawke’s Bay Boxing Association, and being able to co-locate with CD Cricket greatly reduces the initial capital outlay as well as ongoing maintenance and servicing costs of the building.”
Craig adds that the park’s broader offerings are also a huge appeal.
“I expect we will use nearly everything to a greater or lesser degree – running track, sports fields, gymnasiums, pool, etc. I also think many of the existing sports will want to engage in boxing as part of their training.
“Boxing participants will be able to cross- train with indoor sports, including cricket, football, touch rugby, dodgeball, etc, using the larger indoor arena; and Central Districts Cricket will be able to use the boxing gym and training apparatus for their elite players too.
“The location also better serves the at-risk communities that have benefited from the academy’s wider community support programmes as it is more readily accessible from Camberley and Flaxmere.
“Being part of the wider sporting team and community will add value to us; however, we also feel we have much to give back in the form of service, strategies and enjoyment.”