By Adam Eisenbarth
She’s jabbing and hooking her way to the top and her skills were developed right here in Rimbey.
Kandi Wyatt now resides near Edmonton, but her interest in the sport of boxing was sparked in this town.
The 19-year-old won gold in the Continental Championships in Brasilia, Brazil earlier this month.
More than 10 countries from throughout North, Central and South America participated in the event.
Wyatt, originally of Rocky Mountain House, used to participate in gymnastics but a boxing program in the same building caught her eye.
“I would be in gymnastics and I’d see Mike (Smith) at the boxing club coaching boxers, so I got interested and asked if I could try out.”
Smith coached in Rocky Mountain House and when he decided to work in Rimbey, Wyatt decided to continue training with him in town.
There’s plenty to be excited about for Smith, who runs the Rimbey Boxing Club.
“As a friend and as a coach I’m very proud of her accomplishments up to this point.
She trained in Rimbey with Smith for about 11 years.
“In that time she’s made some pretty good progress.”
The boxer has now moved on to train in Edmonton and while Smith says it was tough to see her go, he’s happy she’ll get the help she needs to meet her goals.
“I knew that for her to get to where she’s going she’s going to have to step up her boxing skills because I’m the first to admit I don’t know everything about training. I’m an amateur coach not a professional coach.”
Wyatt won the semi-final against a boxer from Mexico, before going on to capture the gold, defeating an Argentina boxer.
Having won the 2010 senior nationals in the 59 kg weight class, Wyatt was able to participate in the event as part of the national team. Her future looks bright and she’s looking to capitalize on her recent success.
“A long-term goal is the 2012 Olympics. In about two weeks I’m going to Barbados for the Women’s World Championships with the Canadian National Team again.”
While her goal of the Olympics is within sight, Wyatt knows it won’t be easy, and she’ll have to keep working hard.
“I’ve got to work on my footwork a bit more, keeping my feet moving all the time.”
At this point, Wyatt can’t gauge just how close she is to the Olympics, but she’ll be continuing to work toward that goal.
“It’s hard to say (if I’ll get there) because it’s still a couple years away but I think I’m going on the right track, coming back with a gold medal from Brazil.”
Whether Wyatt moves on to participate in the Olympics, her boxing career is a golden story, and it all started in Rimbey.