Huge medal haul for New Zealand Black Gloves

By Aroha Treacher

The New Zealand Black Gloves team has a medal haul of 15 medals so far at the IMFA World Youth Muay Thai Games held in Thailand.

Eleven year-old Celia Brooking from Hamilton has come away with New Zealand's first gold medal.

"I couldn't let my team down so I tried to push as much as I can to get the gold and all that training I did back home and in Thailand or Bangkok was all worth it," says Celia.

Thirty young fighters from across New Zealand qualified for the New Zealand Black Gloves team, their impressive medal haul so far has put them third on the medal table.

"We're ahead of Australia who have got thirty more fighters than us, so it's pretty good that the percentage of fighters that we have have gained medals," says team manager Ash Ahipene.

"Probably from the last five years we've grown so much and the experience that everybody learns from it is taking it home and we're just growing and growing."

"It's been fun because we had lots of people come up and fight," says Rhya Henare, who has come away from the competition with a silver medal.

"You can just feel the energy in the air, it's really intense, it just gets bigger, the bigger the fights the stronger the fights are it just pops," says her mother Chareese Henare who is in Thailand with her.

The tournament has seen 79 countries represented with more than 800 fighters competing.