Former Thai-boxer Rachel Gledhill is proud to be one of few women to be running a gym in the UK today.
Young Gledhill was first introduced to the sport when she was in her early 20s when her friends told her about a gym offering courses.
“I had some mates that did Thai boxing and had their own club with loads of experience teachers and I just went along to their club to try it out,” she said.
“Since then I never looked back at other sports.”
18-years have passed and now Gledhill owns her own gym in Preston.
In terms of her career, she didn’t compete at major league tournaments.
Her biggest achievement was when she first opened her gym back in December 2007 – being the first woman at the time to ever run a gym in the United Kingdom.
Today only a small number of females run gyms according to the 40-year-old.
“My main achievement within the career of Thai boxing as a whole was to be running my very own gym as a women and today there are rather quite a few now who run their own gyms, so I’d say my level of achievements stands clear on that,” said Gledhill.
“There are many coaches of women who train students of all sports but there’s hardly any of them who run their own gyms. It’s literally less than 1 percent.”
Her gym is called Red Kite, can be found on Fylde Road and has produced countless numbers of fighters.
According to Gledhill, the amount at her gym of fighters that manage to make it to competition is around 4% due to the amount of dedication and commitment required.
Her best known athlete is Matt Ball, who has been training at the gym since 2011 and has been named as the up and coming star by the gym’s hierarchy.
“My most accomplished fighter is Matt Ball and he is hopefully moving into the B class section and hopefully he’ll make us proud and I know that he’ll do a good job,” she said.
“All of my fighters have been good and they’ve been offered title fights but we didn’t take them because they weren’t experienced enough to be fighting on that level and they need to earn them before they fight for them.”