LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Though many East Texas businesses have gotten back to ‘some sense of normal’, for boxing gyms and martial arts studios, an essential element is still missing.
For almost a year, regional and local tournaments have been cancelled due to Covid concerns, leaving promising competitors with no place to show their skills.
For upcoming boxers and martial arts students, tournaments are essential in gaining competitive edge, and measuring skills against other opponents.
Longview boxing coach Stephen Fletcher, of ‘Sniper-Wolf boxing academy’, knows how important they can be.
“Some have goals of going to state tournaments, some nationals, and for the younger kids the junior Olympics and stuff. So the tournaments are very important to prepare them for them,” Fletcher says.
But Covid 19 has cancelled dozens of events that would have garnered trophies and medals.
And leaves a blank spot for those who train hard at their discipline.
“Yeah it’s been quite a long of time without a tournament, got a lot of practice in to compare myself against others. Really helps to up your technique and skill,” says 14 year old Taekwondo second degree black belt Sam Strong.
What’s lost mostly is a key for competitors.
In a real competition against equally skilled opponents.
“Experience. Can’t have it without experience. We could train them in the gym 24 hours a day, but without the experience it’s not going to help you at all,” says Fletcher.
And there’s a large amount of revenue lost with cancelled tournaments, and lost with it is the chance to qualify for bigger events.
“You don’t want them to lose their enthusiasm for the sport. You want to have something to motivate you to continue to train,” Fletcher says.
The ‘East Texas Golden Gloves’ boxing tournament is scheduled for April.