Boxer Charley hails hometown ahead of Tokyo Olympics gold medal bid
- Credit: GB Boxing
Lowestoft boxer Charley Davison has praised the support and backing of her hometown after sealing her ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Community well wishes, video messages from her children's school and social media support have all helped as she was still coming to terms with the "amazing" achievements.
Charley, 27, said she was determined to realise her dreams and make her children proud after securing a place at next month's games - becoming the second boxer from Lowestoft to represent GB boxing at an Olympics after Anthony Ogogo won bronze at the 2012 Games.
The mother-of-three returned to a hero's welcome as she was greeted by balloons, flags, banners, chocolate, a celebratory cake and cuddles with her nine, seven and five-year-old children on her return to Lowestoft at the weekend after the Road to Tokyo European Olympic qualifying event in Paris.
Having been away from her family for intensive training and the qualifying event for four weeks - the longest time ever that she had not been with them - Charley admitted she was "100pc fully focused" as she aims for gold.
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Her meteoric rise to qualifying for the Olympics comes just two years after returning to the sport, following a seven year break to start a family.
After securing an U51kg silver medal at the European qualifiers, Charley has also improved her seeding in the flyweight division for the Olympics.
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She will head out to Japan with Team GB when the games begin next month - and revealed that she "can't wait."
Coached by John Cremin and Frank Bacon in Lowestoft since she was eight, Charley boxes for Attleborough Boxing Club but trains regularly on Lowestoft beach and at her main base of Nirvana Health and Fitness on the south Lowestoft industrial estate.
Speaking exclusively to this newspaper on her return to her hometown, Charley said: "I’m determined to make my dreams come true and my kids proud.
"I'm really buzzing for it now.
"Everything is going good - I've qualified and can enjoy some time with my family now.
"It was a really nice surprise coming home to see the balloons, banners and flags up, while enjoying some chocolate and cake!
"The four week period is the longest time ever that I've been away from the children.
"They are all at primary school now, and I was able to video call them from Paris.
"It was lovely to receive a video message of congratulations from the Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy children - that was really nice.
"Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send so many messages on social media, or pass on well wishes.
"Lowestoft now has two Olympians and it is so nice to have everyone supporting me, and be recognised for what I've done."
Charley will head to Sheffield next week for four days of intensive training a week with the GB Boxing squad, before returning home at weekends.
This will continue for the coming weeks, before the squad is due to fly out two weeks before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
Charley said: "It is a long flight so we're heading out two weeks before the start of the Olympics to acclimatise and get used to the facilities.
"This will be the furthest I've been away representing Team GB but also the longest time I've been away from the family.
"There is nothing to lose and no pressure on me."
While Charley has now battled the best in Europe, and sparred with the American fighter, she admitted that by being "new" in the system would also be an advantage during the Olympics, with the bouts still to be drawn.
She said: "A lot of the boxers won't know much about me as I'm new in the system.
"I was really happy with how I performed in Paris. I felt I boxed really, really well and am still coming to terms with being an Olympian!
"But I know that I'm going to go there looking to bring back a gold medal - not a silver medal this time - 100pc, gold is the aim."