NLL Legend - Stephen Newns!
Meet Stephen Newns, an NL Leisure team member who is based at the Time Capsule in Coatbridge. Stephen is also a boxer, and recently competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games!
Stephen represented Scotland on Australia's Gold Coast, and we caught up with him to find out about his amazing experience.
Read his story below.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and your role here at NL Leisure?
I’ve been involved in boxing since I was eight years old when my dad (my coach) brought me to the gym when I developed a liking for boxing. I was only training and making friends - nothing serious. I then started competing when I was eleven and I have been ever since. Now I’m competing at an international level representing Scotland in many tournaments around the world, including European Championships in Ukraine, World championships in Russia, and of course the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
I work part time at NL Leisure as a pool lifeguard in the Time Capsule, Coatbridge. I’ve been here since July 2016. Shortly after I left school and about to start studying fitness and exercise at Motherwell College. It’s a great job, a nice relaxed environment where all the staff are nice and friendly. I was made to feel very welcome since I first started.
2. How long have you been boxing for?
I’ve been boxing for 9 years now, first boxing in domestic bouts and competitions, until I won my first Scottish Championships in 2011 at 13 years old and I have been involved in the Scotland team ever since. When I won my first senior national title in 2017 when I was 19 years old, I was more heavily involved in boxing as I was regularly competing in international tournaments, starting to realise that I had high expectations of selection for the Commonwealth Games the next year.
As my Dad is my club coach he brought me along to the gym for training, I enjoyed my first few times there and made a few friends so I kept it going and eventually it was noticeable that I had a talent from a young age and I could maybe go somewhere in boxing. Also I still enjoy training with my Dad very much, I think it’s a great thing for our father and son relationship which has really developed through boxing. We’ve made good memories and been successful in competitions.
I found out I was selected for the Commonwealth Games in November, this was their selection period where team Scotland would sit down and look at the track record of each boxer on the team throughout the past year. When I received the phone call from Boxing Scotland’s team manager I was absolutely delighted, something I’ve wanted since I was 8 years old was coming true. Knowing that all the hard work and sacrifices over the years was continually paying off.
3. How was your experience at the Games?
The Commonwealth Games was not only the best experience I’ve had with boxing, but the best experience I’ve ever had in my life so far. The absolute buzz of being involved was unreal. Seeing athletes competing in the Commonwealth Games previously and knowing now that it was my chance to enjoy the moment.
Being in Australia too, seeing what a beautiful country it was and how great the weather was compared to back home. Also being involved in such a great team of boxers and really close friends we’ve made over the years, it was great to enjoy it with them. The general atmosphere was amazing.
Winning my first two bouts in the Commonwealth Games was a fantastic feeling. I had two great performances and was confident throughout of winning and progressing after these fights and I was focused on getting into the medals and taking it from there, but unfortunately I lost against an Olympian from Fiji in the quarter final stage which meant I won’t be coming home with a medal. I was heartbroken to lose out at this stage, to medal at the Commonwealth Games has been a dream of mine since I started boxing and to come so close I thought I was going to do it in the Gold Coast.
Despite losing in the quarter finals and not receiving a medal, I am delighted to of had the Commonwealth Games experience and representing my country at the highest level of boxing.
4. Getting to the Quarter Final stage is a huge achievement – what are your plans for the future?
Reaching the quarter finals of Commonwealth Games at 20 years old is a great achievement, a few years ago I didn't think it was possible but I've shown that I'm more than capable with hard work and dedication.
I will continue working in the Time Capsule this year, and also I’ll continue boxing at a high level as it’s all I want to do. I believe I have a bright future in the sport and I still enjoy it as much as I did when I first started.
5. Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank NL Leisure and the staff working at the Time Capsule, for all their support and understanding during my time at work and while I’m boxing, making it easier for me to chase a dream and enjoy my boxing.
That's all for this week's NLL Legend story. All of us at NL Leisure would like to congratulate Stephen on a truly phenomenal performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and wish him all the best for the future.
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