Seeing is doing. The success of Dutch women athletes in the recent Olympic Games has seemingly had a spinoff in the sports boxing and gymnastics.

Nearly half of the participants in the introductory session organised by Erasmus Boxing on Tuesday evening were women. And at the open training held by sports club Euroturn, women were very much in the majority.

Image credit: Jack Parker

During the Erasmus Boxing training, around forty participants – varying from beginners to advanced – enjoyed a workout in the packed hall. After an intensive warm-up, step-by-step they were taught the basic principles of boxing. While some participants took things gently, others weren’t afraid to really go for it.


It was interesting to see so many women participants taking part. “Two years ago, the association had five women and over thirty men. Today, nearly half of the forty participants were women. Boxing is no longer a typical male sport”, says board member Daniëlle Harte (20, Criminology).

“More and more women are taking up boxing because women’s boxing is now an Olympic sport. The sport is thus getting more recognition”, says president Shannon van der Beek (23, former master student Media Studies).


The president is delighted to see so much enthusiasm among the new members. “Over the past few years, the association had been at a fairly low ebb; not many people were actively involved. This year, with the new board and around fifty members, we’re looking to get things in order.”

Harte doesn’t feel it’s important that most of the new members have little or no experience in the sport. “New members often find it challenging at first, but they soon get the hang of it. They’re here to learn. Some of them have already bought their own boxing gloves.”

Harte emphasises that boxing – besides improving fitness and technique – helps improve self-confidence. She’s now used to regularly getting hit in the face. “At first it worried me, but now I have enough self-confidence to deal with it. The same will apply to new members too.”

Image credit: Jack Parker

Naast trainingen nemen sommige leden ook deel aan wedstrijden. “Vier keer per jaar strijden we tegen de andere negen studenten turnverenigingen van Nederland. Dat gaat er vrijer aan toe dan bij reguliere wedstrijden. Je krijgt bijvoorbeeld bonuspunten voor creativiteit als je iets grappigs doet tijdens je oefening”, zegt Heldens.