Grandparents helping Price keep on the track to Tokyo

·3 mins read
Pic: Reuters
Pic: Reuters

Lauren Price’s grandparents are all she’s ever known so being apart from them during lockdown has been a sucker punch for the world middleweight boxing champion.

The Caerphilly star has been locked down near her training base in Sheffield and away from her grandparents, who brought her up after she was abandoned by her parents at just three days old.

But with a steely gaze on Olympic gold, Price has taught her elderly Nana how to use FaceTime and continued on her path to the rearranged Games next year.

"It has been really difficult being away from them for so long," said “Price.

“I miss Nan's cooking a lot and just giving them a hug at the end of a week of training.

"Nan has been under a lot of pressure but my auntie has been back at home sorting them out with shopping, so I know they're being taken care of.

"I've got Nan set up on FaceTime. It was pretty painful at the start helping her work it but we're happy we can see each other. We chat every night."

Price shares a flat with fellow GB boxer Karris Artingstall and the pair bonded during lockdown, going on bike rides, long walks and even feeding the ducks to pass the time.

They stayed in Sheffield to give them the best chance of returning to training at the GB Boxing gym, based at the English Institute of Sport and known as ‘The Lions Den.’

Price is one of more than 1,100 athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme that allows her to train full-time and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support, powered by National Lottery funding.

The boxing programme is presided over by Rob McCracken, who trains world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Price, who won European Games as well as global gold in 2019, felt the impact of McCracken’s expert advice even more after lockdown.

"In the first couple of days, Rob came up to me and said 'we've been away for a long time but you still look sharp'" said Price.

"That gave me such a boost and so much confidence to hear it from him, to know that I'd done good work in lockdown and kept ticking over.

"Being back with the coaches makes it feel more real and it's nice to get feedback like that again."

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist’s first passion was football – she turned out for Cardiff City and dreamt of playing for Arsenal as a girl.

But an Olympic obsession has always been there and Price says her lifelong ambition of Olympic gold has kept her going during the adversity of COVID-19.

"Being an amateur boxer, the Olympics is the pinnacle and it's the biggest sporting event in the world," adds Price, who will look to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since National Lottery funding started in 1997.

"I remember watching Kelly Holmes in 2004 and I've wanted to be a part of it since then.

"I represented Team GB at the European Games and that gives you a taste for it. That was great, so I can't imagine what an Olympics is going to be like.

"It's been my dream since I was eight years old, so that's not going to change."

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo and #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo