My Yorkshire: Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams.
Nicola Adams.
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Leeds boxer Nicola Adams, 32, grew up in Burmantofts before becoming the first woman boxer to win a gold medal at the Olympics. The reigning Olympic, Commonwealth and European champion at flyweight is now training to compete in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

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What is your first Yorkshire memory?

I’d be only five or six and I can remember my first visit to Roundhay Park in Leeds and seeing all the fish at Tropical World with my mum and dad. We’d play in the park and have an ice cream. I can also remember going to Temple Newsam. It’s a really nice place. You’ve got woods and a running track. I can still remember my first fight as a 13-year-old. It was at East Leeds Working Men’s Club and I boxed three one-and-a-half-minute rounds. I won on points. I forget the name of the girl I beat. I was inspired to take up boxing after watching a recording of the Rumble in the Jungle – that great fight in 1974 between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

What is your favourite part of the county and why?

Coming from Leeds, it has to be Leeds. The people are really friendly. They recognise me when I am out and about and stop me for photos which I don’t mind. Leeds is a good place to shop and there are so many fine restaurants and bars. I like the coast too. As a kid, we went to Scarborough and I remember the penny slot machines. From school, we’d go on a coach to Bridlington and enjoy fish and chips. There’d be my class of 30 and another class on the coach.

What is your idea of a perfect day or weekend out in Yorkshire?

I’d say going out shopping in Leeds or trying the restaurants in the city or in Headingley. Chilling out in Temple Newsam is great and then having a drink in a couple of bars in Leeds would be my idea of a good time.

Do you have a favourite walk or view?

I like the views in Roundhay Park – the open spaces, the trees and the lake. I like taking my dogs there for a walk. Bailey is a one-year-old Pomeranian – small and fluffy – and Dexter is a Doberman who is five. I often go with my brother Curtis for a couple of hours. We have a nice walk and stop for an ice cream.

Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take out for lunch?

Danny McGuire of Leeds Rhinos. We were in the same class at school, so I’ve known him since I was 10 or 11. We were at Agnes Stewart High School in Burmantofts. I’d like to catch up with Danny to see what he’s been up to. I admire his speed on the pitch.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take out to dinner?

I like Patrick Stewart’s films a lot. I love the X-Men movies he was in when he played Professor Charles Xavier. I love films, particularly horror movies and thrillers.

If you had to name your hidden Yorkshire gem, what would it be?

That’s a tough one because Yorkshire has so much going for it. But I like Ilkley and I’ve enjoyed rock climbing there.

What do you think it is that gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

Definitely the people and the countryside, but Yorkshire has it all… good city centres and attractive coastal places as well. I had fun times at Scarborough and Bridlington on school and family trips and I remember winning a teddy bear a couple of times.

Do you follow a sport in the county and, if so, what?

I love rugby league and I love Leeds Rhinos. The Rhinos work so hard and try so hard on the pitch, so I can relate to that. Yorkshire’s sports facilities are so much better now. The Great Britain boxing team train at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. I train there Monday to Thursday every week. It’s a great place. We’ve got a gym, running track, weights room and boxing gym. When I’m not there I go on Fridays to Brendan Ingle’s boxing place at Wincobank in Sheffield. I must, all told, box 10-15 rounds a day. My next big event is the World Championships at Astana in Kazakhstan next February.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

I’m not really a pub person, but I love going to Fazendas, a lovely Portuguese restaurant in Leeds. It’s at Waterman’s Place in Granary Wharf. I love steak, but there are lots of different meats. I also enjoy the cocktails there like mojito and ones they make with strawberry.

Who is the Yorkshire person you admire the most?

I think that has to be the comedian Leigh Francis who plays the part of Keith Lemon. He is very funny and was born in Leeds. I’ve met him in person on Adam Carr’s Chatty Man show. He was nice to talk to.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed for the better or worse since you have known it?

Certainly for the better. Leeds, for example, has a lot more shops and I like going to the Trinity centre. More shops are planned for Leeds and the choice of restaurants is now much better.

If a stranger came to Yorkshire and had time to visit one place only, where would it be?

I love shopping so it would have to be the Trinity centre in Leeds. You’ve got eating, drinking, shopping and movies all in one place, so that can’t be bad, can it?