British Kickboxing reached a new audience this week with an acknowledgement of the sport from No 10.
ICO England International, India Mae Thompson, received a letter from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in recognition for her outstanding achievements in the UK and overseas.
India just, 14 last week, picked up two European Championship Tiles in Points and Mat Continuous (Girls 12- 15 years) and two Silver Medals (Girls 16-18 years) in the same categories at The ICO European Championships held in Rome earlier this month.
“Winning on your birthday and then walking around the coliseum in Rome later that afternoon was pretty mind blowing”, the youngster claimed. “I’m not sure a birthday gets much better than that. Then to get a letter from the Prime Minister a week later just blew my mind all over again!”
India, who has only been practising Kickboxing since 2012, trains at Windrush Kickboxing Academy; fronted by former World Champion, Chris Hoyles. Earlier this year she received her junior Black Belt after two, eight hour days of grading. In this short time frame, India has become Unified World Champion, 3x European Champion and 3 x British Champion, as well as English Open and Welsh Open champion. She has also been nominated twice for Junior Sports Person of the Year.
India sometimes trains around four times a week at the gym and at home, and has now embarked on helping coach the juniors at her club.
“I have had to train hard and at times I was training five times a week; competing most weekends, getting home at 11pm. It was tough and there have been times when my dad has had to pull me out of bed at 6am on a Sunday morning, but it’s been worth it and I have been lucky enough to train with and meet some great Martial Artists from all over the world. I don’t think I’m the best by any means, but I have been supported by great coaches and I just seem to get the result when I need them.”
Many coaches and referees have commented on how gracious she is when winning and is more concerned about her opponent than jumping for joy when she wins. Her father believes her success has been down to mixing her training up and introducing other coaches so she can learn different techniques and just pick up pointers. Marc, her father, commented: “Her main club will always be Windrush with Chris Hoyles; we have know each other since school and he has a massive reputation for bringing the best out of India. He also takes no nonsense form her! But if you can surround yourself with the best and mix all their ideas and influence in to one mould, what a combination to have!”
In the past four years, India has trained with many great British coaches including Neil Kelly, Jason Charlesworth, Steve Simmons, Antonio Santorelli and Alan Chapman from Impact Fitness in Middlesbrough.
Both, she believes, are huge role models for female Kickboxers.
Her short term goals are to focus on the world championships in France and her school work, and she is about to start from scratch taking up the Olympic sport of Taekwondo.
Long term, India’s goals are to have her own gym, but her main aim is to encourage the next generation of girls to get involved in our great sport!