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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Thursday, 21 July 2011 17:20 UK

London 2012: Chantelle Cameron making up for lost time

By Jon Wilkinson
BBC Radio Northampton

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Cameron prepares to make Olympic grade

For someone who came to boxing late, Northampton's Chantelle Cameron is making up for lost time.

The 19-year-old is in contention to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics - the first time women's boxing will feature at the Games.

That she is being talked about in the same breath as World Championship silver medallist Amanda Coulson and four-times ABA Champion Natasha Jonas is all the more remarkable when you hear Cameron only made a real commitment to the sport by quitting kickboxing in July 2010.

She promptly won the ABA title, took silver at the European Championships in Hungary and reached the last eight of the World Championships in Barbados .

"With kickboxing, I wasn't really going anywhere," the Kings Heath ABC fighter told BBC Radio Northampton.

Chantelle is a very credible contender for selection for the Worlds and Olympics despite her lack of experience

Lee Murgatroyd, Communications director for BABA

"You get no recognition at all. But to fight for England and Great Britain in boxing, it was a massive opportunity."

If her start in the sport was impressive, she only seems to be improving.

In January, Cameron outpointed the World Championships bronze medalist Klara Svensson in the 64kg weight division in Haninge, Sweden.

Cameron's rise was not missed by the British Amateur Boxing Association, who called her up to their podium squad in March.

"It's the elite squad of the best female boxers in Britain," said communications director Lee Murgatroyd.

"Chantelle appeared on the radar late, but she performed very well in Barbados. She proved herself, to a certain extent. The coaches liked the look of her and felt it merited bringing her in."

In April, her reputation was enhanced further by wins against Chinese opponents Chang Dong and Yan Oi Tan on their visit to the UK.

Most recently, she won bronze at the European Championships in Katowice, only losing to Ireland's World Champion Katie Taylor.

At the Olympic 60kg weight class, only one of Cameron, Coulson or Jonas will be selected for the Worlds and Olympics.

Chantelle Cameron
Boxer Cameron has not yet lost a fight in England

"We're all boxing for the number one spot, so whoever performs the best at the qualifier in May will go," Cameron says.

"Chantelle more than merits a place in the squad and she's a very credible contender for selection despite her lack of experience," added Murgatroyd.

And Cameron has plaudits amongst her fellow boxers as well.

Nicola Adams made history when she won a silver medal in Ningbo. The 28-year-old has backed her fellow podium squad member to achieve great things.

"She's very determined," said Adams.

"She hasn't been on the scene long but she's coming back with the right results and she's dealt with switching from kickboxing without any problems.

"When you're her age, you're always that much more intense about everything, including training.

"As long as she stays as determined as she is, and keeps focused, she can achieve just as much as I have and maybe even more.

"To compete at the Olympics is all I've ever wanted to do, and I'm sure she's thinking the same thing."

And whilst the experience of full-time training, top class coaching and working with illustrious squad mates is clearly something Cameron is enjoying, she does not regard representing Great Britain at the Olympics as out of reach.

"It's amazing on the podium squad," said Cameron. "Being a full-time athlete is what I always wanted to do - a dream come true.

"For every athlete, the Olympics is the target. All the training would be worth it, although it wouldn't feel real if I did qualify.

"I'm just thinking about beating Katie Taylor at the moment. If I can beat her, I'll know I've got a chance for the gold - I don't want silver or bronze."

Chantelle Cameron is one of BBC Radio Northampton's three featured athletes as part of 'Olympic Dreams' in the build-up to London 2012.

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see also
GB Boxing tweak squads for 2011
19 Jan 11 |  Boxing
Ireland's Taylor wins world title
18 Sep 10 |  Boxing
GB's women win three EU silvers
08 Aug 10 |  Boxing
Here come the girls
08 Jun 10 |  Boxing


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