• Locals children were "in awe" of Commonwealth Games boxer Clay Waterman during his recent visit. (Supplied)
Indigenous boxer Clay Waterman took a break from his Commonwealth Games training schedule to deliver an inspirational message to aspiring athletes on North Stradbroke Island.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
2 Feb 2018 - 2:23 PM  UPDATED 2 Feb 2018 - 2:27 PM

Dozens of young people of all ages gathered at the Dunwich waterfront for a boxing lesson from the Brisbane-based champion, who also brought a swag of boxing gear donated in part by former women's world boxing champion Sharon Anyos.

"If you put your mind to things, you can do really great things," the six-time Australian champion told the crowd.

"You can do it, doesn’t matter how you train or anything – we just train in a shed in the backyard, and look where it’s gotten me.

"It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says, just always look forward and look for the good things in life."

Local woman Kaiyu Moura Bayles, who organised the visit, said the children were "in awe" of the 21-year-old.

"They just could not believe it, it was almost like something stepped out of a movie screen and come and blessed these kids with his presence. It was like a god had visited them," she said.

"I think it was overwhelming because they don’t see that kind of inspiration up close and personal, and when we’re young it only takes for us to see one person or two people in our lives and anything can happen, they can just inspire us."

Ms Bayles arranged the visit as part of the island's new fitness program, Thrive Tribe. 

Launched last month with the help of fitness guru Jeff Morgan and former professional boxer Uncle Dave Bell, who runs the Sydney-based Young Spirit Mentoring Program, Thrive Tribe aims to transform communities through regular fitness classes and nutrition advice.

'We want to thrive, we don’t want to just be merely surviving anymore.'

"Instead of letting the government dictate what the next 230 years look like, we’re going to determine ourselves what that looks like. We want to thrive, we don’t want to just be merely surviving anymore," Ms Bayles says.  

All ages fitness sessions are held three times a week at 6.30am, while the local kids train every afternoon except Sunday. Sessions are also posted online to allow other communities to follow the program. 

With an average weight loss of six kilos across all participants so far, Ms Bayles says the program has the long-term potential to fight chronic disease and help close the health gap in First Nations communities.  

"Some of us are what the doctors would call morbidly obese, so I think if we have a look at six months time we could actually get out of the obesity bracket and come down to a healthy weight range," she says. 

The program has been particularly popular with youth, including Ms Bayles' three young sons.

"I get in trouble if I get up at 6.30 in the morning to train with the adults and don’t wake all three of them up," she laughs.

"They turn up every day to train, so they don’t want to hang around bored, this is something that they love.

"Their fitness level has increased already. None of the kids could barely do a pushup, and now when you ask them to do a pushup they’ve got no trouble doing five or six."

A free program, Thrive Tribe will soon be fundraising to keep the initiative running long-term. 

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