Akay’s investment brings boxing club rewards
PUBLISHED: 15:51 22 December 2010
ALL Stars ABC have gained a much-needed funding boost after club founder Isola Akay won an award for his work in the north-west London community.
The cash-strapped Harrow Road club will benefit to the tune of £1,000 as part of the nationwide Barclays Community Sports Award for December.
Akay, who is now 75 and lives in Kilburn, established All Stars 35 years ago and, with the help of numerous volunteers, has been helping to develop a stream of both junior and adult boxers ever since.
All Stars’ membership list now numbers approximately 300, including fighters who compete at regional and national level and many others who simply learn boxing skills and take part in fitness programmes.
“I am overwhelmed to receive the Barclays Community Sports Award,” said Akay. “The prize money will go a long way towards funding new equipment for the club.
“I thoroughly enjoy what I do and I’m so happy to be in a position where I can help young people turn their energies towards positive achievements.”
Akay initially ran the club from his own living room before working to obtain a lottery grant and Sports Council funding that enabled a gym to be built at the Harrow Road premises.
The award was set up by the Barclays Spaces for Sports scheme, in partnership with the Football Foundation and the Premier League’s Creating Chances programme.
Akay will also be included in a draw at the end of the current football season, with the winner earning another £5,000 for his organisation and a further award, presented by former England defender Gareth Southgate.
Southgate, who headed the judging panel, added: “The quick growth of All Stars and the commitment of its members and volunteers is testament to the outstanding contribution from Mr Akay in getting this fantastic club up and running.
“He has created a place where the youth of London can not only learn the commitment and dedication it takes to become a professional sportsman, but where members from all walks of life can improve their fitness levels.”
Akay, who was awarded an MBE for his work at All Stars, was also nominated for the Unsung Hero category at Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
But he missed out on this occasion, with Bedford basketball coach Lance Haggith winning the accolade from a field of 15 regional nominees.
FORMER All Stars fighter Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane is to challenge for the British light-welterweight title in the new year.
Theophane, who hails from Kilburn, has signed a deal to face current champion Lenny Daws – who is unbeaten in his last nine fights – although a date and venue have yet to be announced.
The 30-year-old has won 28 and drawn one of his 33 professional bouts to date.
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