“Tell me I can’t and that’s why I will.”
These inspirational words from Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams have been permanently engraved into a Leeds City Centre spot in honour of her latest accolade.
The 34-year-old – the world’s first female Olympic boxing champ – was handed a ‘Paving the Way’ award at Friday’s Mobo awards in Glasgow.
And the ceremony’s founder Kanya King was on hand in Cookridge Street yesterday to present Adams with the special stone, which lies in front of her gold postbox.
Ms Adams, from Leeds, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Growing up in the boxing world there was always people saying ‘You can’t box’, women should be in the kitchen, ‘Why don’t you just play tennis?’.
“It’s about having the confidence and belief not to listen to what people were saying.”
Speaking about the Mobo award, she adds: “It was such a special moment for me. I’ve presented quite a few and never thought I would ever receive one.
“I received a standing ovation from the crowd.”
It was also announced yesterday that she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, as well as its Olympian of the Year, awards.
At Rio in the summer, Ms Adams became the first British boxer to successfully defend their Olympic title for 92 years.
She said: “I’ve had massive support from Leeds and Yorkshire. I definitely feel through 2012 and into Rio the support I’ve had is absolutely amazing. It feels like there was Yorkshire behind me with every punch I threw in the ring.”
Kanya King, the CEO and founder of the Mobo organisation said Ms Adams’s ‘Paving the Way’ award was deserved. She said: “It takes someone extraordinary who’s a trailblazer and creating a pathway for others to follow.”
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake was also on hand at the ceremony to congratulate Ms Adams.
She was joined by youngsters who have been inspired by the boxer.
Leeds City College sports student Emma Taylor, 17, said: “I think it’s well-deserved. It’s a good example to women that want to get into sport.”
And the star herself joked that with all its landmarks dedicated to her, Cookridge Street should now be re-named ‘Nicola Adams Way’.