Refugee boxer Cindy Ngamba has ‘overcome obstacles’ to pursue Team GB dreams

By Sports Desk June 21, 2023

Refugee boxer Cindy Ngamba believes she has had to “work harder” than others to pursue her dreams of one day competing for Team GB at the Olympics.

Born in Cameroon, the 24-year-old fought for refugee status for years and has talked about her pain of going through detention camps before earning a right to stay in the country.

Ngamba, who trains with GB Boxing, will go to the European Games this week in Krakow as part of the Fair Chance refugee team, but is hoping to fight in the vest of Team GB in the near future.

She came to the UK aged 11 and was threatened with a return to Cameroon but believes she has had to fight harder to get to where she is competing now.

“Some people have to work harder than others because others have it the hard way,” Ngamba, who will fight for the 66kg crown at the third edition of the European Games, told the PA news agency.

“That’s not me saying those that have the easy way don’t work hard, but my life, I feel I had to overcome a lot of obstacles which makes me who I am.

“When I was an immigrant, one time, me and my brother were arrested and got sent to a detention camp in London; just like that we did not know what was happening, you feel helpless and think you will be getting sent back to the country you came from.

“Every little thing that has happened in my life since coming to the UK, I see it in a good way because if it didn’t happen I would not be where I am right now.”

Ngamba was fearful of a return to Cameroon due to her LGBTQ+ sexuality, as homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and can be punished with up to five years in prison.

She continued: “It was dangerous for me to go back with my sexuality.

“When I was applying for my papers, I could have used my sexuality and come out but I stayed in the closet.

“I come from an African country where they are strict and the mindset is very different. During my cases, I tried to use my boxing, me going to school or college but the Home Office did not want to hear any of it.

“I came out at 18 and my solicitor did a background check on my country and saw you could get put in prison or get killed and with me being gay, I could not get sent back.”

Ngamba has proven her boxing credentials after becoming the first person since Natasha Jonas to win at three National Amateur Championship weight divisions.

Once she obtains a British passport, she will be eligible to become a fully-funded member of the GB boxing squad, and potentially represent Team GB at future Olympic Games and she feels at home with the GB boxing team.

“Team GB have always been in my corner, I feel I am a part of Team GB – but paper wise, I am not,” she said.

“They are the ones that I spend my time with all the time so they are my family, from the boxers, the coaches, the ones that work in the office, I believe that me qualifying, I will be part of Team GB.

“That’s not me saying I don’t want to represent the refugee team but I feel part of GB Boxing and they are doing their best to make me feel a part of that, which I love very much.”

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