OLYMPIC boxing coach Don Abnett took time off from the Australian Institute of Sport to check out then progress of the new Eurobodalla Police-Citizens Youth Club.
Mr Abnett has been a huge help to attract the respected PCYC organisation to Narooma, and over the years has used the town as a training camp for Australia’s elite boxers.
Newly formed PCYC boxing committee member and host Steve Spears said Mr Abnett enjoyed his two-day stay earlier this month.
In addition to checking out the club venue at the Narooma Sports and Leisure Centre, he also took some time out to tour Gulaga Mountain to learn more about local Aboriginal culture with indigenous guide Lynn Thomas.
Mr Spears said the national boxing coach was a big advocate for the PCYC helping young Aboriginal athletes, with opportunities to get local indigenous youth from communities such as Wallaga Lake and Bodalla involved in the new club.
The boxing committee meanwhile had it first official meeting on September 27 and has been asked by PCYC chief executive Chris Gardner to set a direction for the boxing arm of the Eurobodalla PCYC.
The committee will oversee the boxing section of the PCYC, separate to the actual PCYC committee, which will oversee the entire venture.
“For those who have been asking, it has been a very complicated and slow process, but the PCYC is coming, good things take ‘a lot’ of time!” committee member and boxing promoter and trainer Mark “Ziggy” Zielinski said.
“Our vision of the boxing arm is to attract the elite Australian Institute of Sport athletes, which is being encouraged by coach Abnett.
“The geographic position of Narooma to Canberra is a gigantic plus for us, and our youth will benefit enormously from their presents.”
Ziggy said the long-term goal was to cater to the kids from Eden to Batemans Bay. There are a number of ‘Back Yard Gyms’ in this area that the committee plans to combine under the PCYC Banner, with the Narooma Sports and Leisure Centre being the centre headquarters.
“Short term, because of dollars, it will concentrate locally,” he said.
“It’s a huge process to put this all together, and we are looking forward for the PCYC to appoint the manager of the centre.”
The centre will employ a full-time manager and two permanent police officers to work with the youth, and help implement the programs.
The stage at the front of the centre will be removed, and a small foldaway ring will be built, with bags and boxing equipment.
“The area is small, so the boxing equipment will not encroach on the basketball or netball court, which will be required for other activities,” Ziggy said.
“Over time, our goal will be on raising enough funds to build a small extension to house a gym, as well as set up bus transport to bring the youth to the PCYC from the neighboring towns.”
The committee will rely on community support within the shire, as well as attracting private and government grants, especially with facilities being used as a training camp by AIS athletes, he said.
Community support has already been forthcoming with local businessmen Cameron Rowley from Narooma Electrics and Matt O’Neill from Tango Toys in Tilba already stumping up to pay for local and future head coach Frank Cooper to travel to Canberra to secure his coaching certification.