While many Campbell Riverites were enjoying a summer off, two athletes were busy logging training hours at the gym.
All the hard work appears to have paid off for Marlene Noel and Robert Campbell, who represented Heart and Soul Muay Thai at the WKA Canadian National Championships in Edmonton last month.
Noel won her fight by unanimous decision, winning a gold medal, while Campbell finished with a silver medal.
Coach Sandra Bastian was proud of how her athletes performed.
“Robert fought his heart out,” she said of her youngest athlete.
Campbell is only 10 and has been training for just nine months. He competed in the KI Youth B (no head contact) division for boys 10-11 years old and between 83.7 and 92.4 lbs.
Campbell was paired up with an opponent who was two years older, had nine years of training and had been in five ring fights before, said Bastian.
“This was Robert’s first fight ever,” she said. “He did amazing and we are so looking forward to growing with this kid.”
Noel, who had been in the ring before, had been working on staying calm and focused in training. That hard work paid off for her, said Bastian.
“I have a very busy mind, so shutting that off is key for me,” said Noel. “Playing my game. Not jumping in there and all of a sudden playing their game and losing points because you’re fumbling. (Stay) calm; listen to my corner and don’t get too worked up.”
Competing in the Muay Thai Adult Novice 18+ female 125.5-132 lb division, she faced Adia Redekopp of Arashi Do Martial Arts. She won by unanimous decision– a sweet victory after losing a very close split decision earlier this year.
Muay Thai is known as the art of eight limbs, with athletes making use of their fists, elbows, knees and shins.
Noel has only been training in the sport for a couple years. It’s her first combat sport, though she’s been involved with team sports like hockey, baseball and basketball her whole life.
“This is completely new to me and very humbling,” she said.
Noel was back in the gym soon after the fight, keeping up her training. It’s a tight-knit group at Heart and Soul Muay Thai.
“There’s always somebody that’s willing to come and train with me,” said Noel. And if another athlete is training for their own fight, the favour is returned.
Bastian, who shares coaching duties at the gym with Chris Fair, said they expect to see their athletes putting in training hours before even thinking about stepping into the ring for a fight.
While Noel doesn’t have any more fights on the horizon, she is excited at the prospect.
“I can’t wait to step back in the ring again.”
Two other gym members were expected to go to Edmonton, but pulled out ahead of the competition for personal reasons.