Boxer Sadie Thomas to represent country at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas this month
Sadie Thomas will be hoping to follow in the ring steps of two Hartlepool greats when she pulls on the England vest this month.
The teen sensation will represent Queen and country at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas on July 19.
Hartlepool has produced two of the best female fighters in British history in Amanda Coulson and Savannah Marshall, who won medals galore all over the world.
Marshall, of course, conquered the globe in 2012, by winning the World Championships in China, only the second-ever GB fighter, male or female, to win gold.
Now it is the turn of Thomas, Marshall’s Headland ABC team-mate, to take to the major stage.
Sadie has enjoyed a brilliant season, winning both English and GB titles, beating domestic lightweight rival Harli Whitwell on both occasions.
That double triumph has been the culmination of years of hard work at the Northgate gym, plus no shortage of skill.
It has earned her a ticket to the Bahamas and, while she is uncertain of the strength of competition, those wins have given her a strong core of belief.
“I’m not quite sure how many countries are bringing women boxers, I know Australia and Canada have good people,” said the 18-year-old.
“I want gold, but my aim is a medal.
“This has very much my best season – I think I’ve been building up to this for years.
“I’ve had a bit of bad luck down the years when I’ve finished runner-up.
“But I’ve come on loads this year.
“This season, I’ve won the English title and the GB Three Nations.
“I was selected for the Europeans as well, but the tournament was on at the same time, so I’ve been picked for the Commonwealths.”
Thomas began boxing in 2012, Marshall’s world title-winning year, though that was not the inspiration.
“I was always sporty and I just tried loads of different things,” said Sadie, whose elder brothers, Denim and Dwayne, were boxers at the Catholic Club as youngsters.
“I don’t see much of my brothers, but they are very supportive.
“I don’t think my dad thought I’d stick at it and I think he hoped I wouldn’t!
“I think every father would be a bit apprehensive about his daughter boxing, but he’s really behind me.”
Sadie says watching Savannah in the gym has proven a massive help to her.
“Savannah’s been training here a lot since she turned pro and she used to train here at weekends before when she was on the GB team,” added Sadie.
“She’s been good to watch and learn from and great motivation.”
Thomas would like to emulate her club-mate, but has her feet planted firmly in the canvas.
“I’d love to do what she’s done, but it’s one step at a time for me,” said England’s U60 kilo star.
Sadie’s career has been guided superbly by Headland coach John Stubbs with the help of fellow trainer, Andrew Close.
“I’d like to thank all the coaches, John, Andrew and Tim [Coulter], for everything,” said Thomas.
“Especially John – he’s really supportive and gives so much of his time up.”
Thomas will leave with the England team on Monday, when they fly to Florida.
“We have seven days in Miami to acclimatise,” added Sadie, who works for NSK in Peterlee. “Then it’s off to the Bahamas, I can’t wait.”