‘Midwifery is a side of me people don’t see’

By Amy Hetherington   |   Reporter   |
Monday 27th June 2022 11:00 am
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Kickboxer Saoirse O’Driscoll
Saoirse has two world titles under her belt and is now hoping to train as a midwife. (Saoirse O’Driscoll )

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Seventeen-year-old Thai kickboxing champion Saoirse O’Driscoll may have two world titles but she also has another dream - to train as a midwife.

Though she admitted to being ‘hooked’ on kickboxing and was hoping to fight professionally this year, Saoirse, who lives in Okehampton, also said she hoped to become a fully-qualified midwife and was studying hard for her exams.

Saoirse said: ‘I definitely want to go pro this year. I’d love to compete for more titles and it’s not something I want to give up as I get older because at the moment I’m doing exams and I’m planning on training to be a fully-qualified midwife.’

She might not be there yet, but Saoirse’s passion for helping mums, mums-to-be and new babies shines through; a side of her people often ignore she said.

She added: ‘I just have such a passion for it. I think there’s a huge sort of gap in the NHS in women’s care post-pregnancy and throughout pregnancy. I feel I have the qualities to fill that and help people which is a side of me people don’t see. Being a kickboxer, people see that and think I’m like that all the time.’

A career in midwifery and professional kickboxing is an ambitious plan and she admitted that it may be a tough few years, balancing both kickboxing training and an intensive course.

‘It can be hard to balance. I think when I go to university it might go on the backburner but I’ll always be training, that’s the thing,’ she said.

‘So, when I get the chance, I’ll come to the gym. I’d love to continue a professional career alongside midwifery. I’m probably the first person ever to try it.’

Saoirse has been kickboxing since she was a child though she only started intensive training in her early teens. Her inspiration, she said, was her dad, who used to be a kickboxer.

She said: ‘My dad used to do Thai boxing and I think growing up in that kind of environment made me want to do it, and having friends that did it as well. I didn’t start properly until I was about 13 when we moved down to Devon.

‘Then, one of my friends from London said: “Try it one more time.” I went to one session and I’ve been hooked ever since.’

Saoirse has gone from strength to strength since then and has now qualified to represent England at the World Youth Games.

‘I’m still in shock so it hasn’t really sunk in yet but I’m literally just so happy and honoured,’ she said.

The games are held in Canada this year and Saoirse has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the self-funded trip.

To support her, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/get-saoirse-to-canada.

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