UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday praised GB Boxing in the organisation's annual review ©GB Boxing

UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday has heaped praised on GB Boxing for maintaining a "world-class" Olympic performance programme despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Munday lauded the organisations leadership for their "adaptability" and "professionalism" to continue to provide coaching and support to boxers during 11 weeks of lockdown.

Her comments were made in the recently-published GB Boxing Annual Review for 2019-2020, entitled "Rising to the Challenge".

"Through a combination of Zoom coaching sessions and supplying the boxers with the kit and equipment to follow individualised programmes at home, GB Boxing managed to keep its athletes training throughout lockdown," Munday wrote.

"And even though, as a combat sport, it faced a significant set of challenges, boxing was one of the first world-class programmes to return to training. 

"The return to training was a project on which I personally worked closely with many of the sports we fund and I was very impressed with the adaptability and professionalism shown by the leadership at GB Boxing in getting its athletes, coaches and support staff safely back into the gym.

"As we face an uncertain future, I think the sports that will be most successful are those that have the agility and resourcefulness to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

"My experience of the environment at GB Boxing gives me every reason to believe it will be one of those sports."

Olympic champion Nicola Adams was among Britain's three medal winners at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
Olympic champion Nicola Adams was among Britain's three medal winners at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Munday also hailed GB Boxing’s delivery of sustained success over multiple Olympic Games and identified the culture and environment of the organisation as key factors in this.

"When you consider the achievements of GB Boxing, which has won 11 medals at the last three Olympic Games despite losing some of its best boxers to the professional ranks, it is clear there must be something in the culture and environment of the organisation that helps to drive this success," added Munday.

"It is a culture that impacts on people beyond performance and has an influence on the way that many of the boxers conduct themselves in their lives away from sport."

This year’s review tells the story of a tumultuous period for GB Boxing which saw boxers in the squad win 16 medals at four major tournaments before the pandemic hit and placed the Tokyo Olympics in doubt.

The final section of the review sees performance director Rob McCracken reflect on how his team dealt with the challenge of the Games being postponed by 12 months.

Rob McCracken believes the postponement of Tokyo 2020 is a
Rob McCracken believes the postponement of Tokyo 2020 is a "big positive" for his team ©Getty Images

"It has been difficult for everyone yet we have tried to find the positives in the situation and though no-one would ever have chosen it to happen, the lockdown and its aftermath has given us time to pause, reflect and plan for the future," said McCracken.

"Having an additional 12 months to work with this group of men and women is a big positive.

"We have some of the best coaches in the world at GB Boxing and giving them another year to work with the squad will benefit the boxers and improve their chances of being successful at Tokyo 2021.

"I am confident that, as an organisation, we can be stronger for this experience and that as long as our boxers continue to work hard we can help them to achieve their dreams and deliver more success for Team GB at Tokyo 2021."

Chairman Steven Esom added: "The outlook is more uncertain than it has been for some time, however GB Boxing has shown that it has the resilience and adaptability to deal with the most difficult of circumstances.

"The organisation is stronger for the experience of the last few months and as we look to the future and the prospect of an Olympic Games in 2021 I am confident that the strength of our culture and the quality of our people will ensure GB Boxing will overcome any challenges that lie ahead and continue to be successful."