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Kickboxing world champion Lauren targeting a police career with help of York College

YORK teenager Lauren Greenwood has become a three-time world kickboxing champion after winning gold in Orlando.

Lauren, 17, finished top of the podium in the 15 to 17-Years-Old, Under-60 Continuous Fighting category, having also won two world titles at the same competition in Ireland last year.

It represents a remarkable achievement for the York College student, who first took up kickboxing at the age of eight but did not start fighting competitively until after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted three years ago.

And this victory was all the more impressive as she achieved it in front of a partisan crowd who were cheering on their home favourite after Lauren, who trains at the X Martial Arts School in Acomb, had earlier defeated a Canadian opponent.

“I was a bit on edge fighting against an American because the shouting from the crowd was so loud,” Lauren admitted. “So, to win the final and become a three-time world champion, was a massive moment.”

As well as her world champion status and multiple national titles, Lauren believes kickboxing has also provided her with body confidence, a respectful personality and a psychological release at key moments in her life.

On her reasons for taking up the sport and its enduring appeal, she said: “I really struggled with my weight when I was younger and I used to just put it down to natural chubbiness as a child, but my Mum wanted me to get into a sport. I tried football and other things, but I couldn’t get into them.

“Then, my sister’s boyfriend at the time joined a club as an instructor and it was suggested that I go along with him and, because he was my sister’s boyfriend, I felt a bit of pressure to stick at it. But, then, I found I couldn’t keep away.

“I also began to realise that, when I was going through mental-health problems, I was going to kickboxing; when I was going though problems at school, I was going to kickboxing and, when I was going through problems at home, I was going to kickboxing.

“It was my help. If you’ve had a rubbish day, punching and kicking some pads does get that out of you a bit.

“I’ve learned a lot about respect, too, through the sport. You bow to everybody – the mats, the coach, the ref and your opponent and it has made me a more mature person.

“Kickboxing has also given me the mentality that you can accomplish stuff if you keep on doing it. I almost live at the club, but I just love it because it’s such a good environment.

“It’s given me a confidence boost, as has seeing the changes in my body and I love kicking - it’s a skill that you just want to show off.”

Having been accustomed to laying down the law in a sporting arena, Lauren is now hoping that the Level Three Uniformed Protective Services course she is studying at College can help her land a job with the Police Force.

“My Mum always said that I’d be a good police officer, because I’m quite feisty, very honest and straight to the point,” she explained. “And when I looked more into law enforcement and came to the College Open Event, I realised there’s so much that you can do in the Police.

“I love watching all the crime documentaries and want to become a detective. The course can help me do that because I can get the equivalent of three A Levels and I’m studying subjects like criminology and psychology.”