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‘Boxing saved me’ – how former gang member became role model for youngsters

To look at 29-year-old Wasem Said, you would see a confident young man who runs his community boxing club. But in fact it was boxing that helped Wasem turn his life around after his dad died suddenly 10 years ago and he fell in with gangs.

“I lost my role model when my dad died. I struggled with my emotions – I was young and I didn’t know how to show them,” Wasem explains.

He witnessed crime, drugs and violence – before sport gave him a positive purpose. After a friend persuaded him to try mixed martial arts, which includes boxing, at 17, he started training at the gym three times a week.

The National Lottery Awards is the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded people and projects. This year will continue to celebrate people who have gone above and beyond during these challenging times.

Nominate now in 5 categories:
● Culture, Arts & Film
● Heritage
● Sport
● Community/Charity
● Young Hero (under 18)

All nominees must work or act for a National Lottery-funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding. Entries must be received by midnight on June 7, 2021.

To nominate someone for a 2021 National Lottery Award, simply complete an entry form at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards

“Boxing saved me,” says Wasem. “It was hard, but a positive challenge. I felt responsible for the first time.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, around £30 million goes to good causes every week and in 2018, this funding helped Wasem set up the Tiger Bay Amateur Boxing Club in Cardiff’s Butetown to help keep other young people out of trouble.

“It gives them self-esteem and positive role models,” he says.

In just two years, he recruited more than 200 members to Tiger Bay Amateur Boxing Club, fighting hard along the way to tackle antisocial behaviour, racism, Islamophobia and poor mental health.

Wasem’s efforts were recognised when he won The National Lottery 2020 Sport Award.

The National Lottery Awards are a chance to celebrate the inspirational work of the ordinary people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Wasem set up the Tiger Bay Amateur Boxing Club to help keep other young people out of trouble

Wasem used the money to create a clothing brand for the club and to buy training kit.

“Winning the award meant so much,” he says. “Especially as we’re such a deprived community. Usually the attention we get is negative, so it’s good to show we are doing something positive.

“I hope it will help to empower people and encourage youngsters to get involved.”

To nominate someone for a 2021 National Lottery Award simply complete an entry form at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.

Remember all nominees must work or act for a National Lottery-funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding. Entries must be received by midnight on 7th June 2021.



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