Winnipeg kickboxing gym leading movement to get more girls in the ring

WINNIPEG -More and more young girls are taking up kickboxing – a sport usually left for the boys.

“Girls can do anything guys can do,” said 13-year-old Skylar Carswell.

Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing is among those growing the sport in Manitoba. It’s believed to be the first gym in the city to offer kickboxing to girls as young as 11.

“Girls are two times more likely by the age of 14 to drop out of sport,” said Andrea Katz with Winnipeg Women’s Kickboxing. “So we really found there was a lack of opportunity for girls in that age category in Winnipeg.”

Classes started in September with more girls strapping on the gloves every week.

“It would be really intimidating coming into a class with a bunch of guys and being expected to fight with them,” said Caswell. “I think that’s more intimidating than being able to come in with open arms with a bunch of girls and getting to meet new friends.”

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But it’s not just their fitness the girls are improving. Kickboxing is also helping to raise their self-esteem, setting them up for life outside the ring.

“It helps build confidence and an understanding that we have a chance against others,” said Ashley Knodel. “We’re not below people but at the same level.”

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