I'm a refugee who was threatened with deportation but now I'll be boxing at the Olympics in Paris

You'll soon be hearing a lot about Cindy Ngamba.
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A fast-rising boxer threatened with deportation is now an Olympian after qualifying for the Paris games this summer. 

Cindy Ngamba’s remarkable story will continue on the biggest stage in sport in a few months after she sealed her spot at middleweight with victory in the qualification event in Busto Arsizio, Italy. 

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Despite training with the GB Boxing squad having won three national titles in three different weight classes, Bolton-based Ngamba will however be representing the refugee team in Paris. The Cameroon-born fighter moved to the UK as a youngster but is still battling to get a visa and UK citizenship meaning she cannot wear the colours of her adopted homeland. 

A scholarship with the IOC refugee team rescued her Olympic dream, just a few years after being threatened with deportation.

Bolton boxer Cindy Ngamba is heading to the Paris Olympics Bolton boxer Cindy Ngamba is heading to the Paris Olympics
Bolton boxer Cindy Ngamba is heading to the Paris Olympics

Out in Italy, Ngamba, who fights out of Elite Boxing in Halliwell, booked her place in Paris in devastating fashion as she stopped her opponent, Valentina Khalzova of Kazakhstan in the final round, having already administered two standing counts a round earlier.

She said: “We’re still a lot of steps away from the end goal. I still have got to practice, learn and improve if I want that gold medal but right now, I’m speechless, and that doesn’t happen often. 

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“I got emotional in the ring, and I have to thank everyone at GB Boxing, all the coaches and staff, Rob McCracken, Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall as well, they’ve all helped on the journey.

“In the changing room before, I told myself that I’m not just qualifying for myself, but for the refugee team. It’s a big family, there’s millions of us around the world and I’m just one of them who is lucky enough to be given an opportunity and for that I thank God and those who have believed in me.”

There’ll be further Greater Manchester representation in the Olympic boxing competition after Pat Brown sealed his spot on the Team GB squad in Paris after defeating Poland’s Mateusz Bereznicki unanimously in a heavyweight match-up.

He said: “Words can’t describe how I feel. I could cry my eyes out! I’m just shown to my amateur clubs, Sale ABC and Moss Side, and the kids that if they keep going and work hard, anything is possible.

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“This is for my dad. I’ve done it for him, and I can’t wait to share this moment with him. He and my friends and family have come out here and supported each day and that, with all the support back home has not gone unnoticed and I’m incredibly grateful.

“I’ve only been on the GB Boxing programme a couple of years and the Olympics always seemed so far out for reach, but I always believe in myself, and I work hard, and I still can’t believe I’ve done it – it’s unbelievable.”