“I don’t get scared. I don’t worry. I just do my job”; Cindy Ngamba’s biggest fight is outside the ring: the refugee boxer pursues her dream of boxing for Great Britain at the Olympics; Three-weight national champion Ngamba would be a major medal hope for GB in Paris
By John Dennen, sportswriter
7:46 AM UK Saturday 25 February 2023
For Cindy Ngamba, her biggest fight is off the ropes.
He boxes internationally for the refugee team Fair Chance, but his dream is to represent GB at the Olympics.
He had to fight for his right to remain in the UK and is fighting to sort out his citizenship so he can box for Great Britain.
“To get refugee status I had to go through so many difficulties at immigration, with the Home Office, I was put in a detention camp by them, there were so many times where they tried to kick me out of the UK and tried to send me back. to a country I left when I was very young and I don’t know anyone,” said Ngamba sky sports.
“So I’ve been through very, very difficult times with immigration and the Home Office.
“Once you’ve had a hard time getting refugee status, then you’re used to it.”
The UK has been Ngamba’s home since she was a child. But despite that, she was kidnapped and held in a detention camp under threat of deportation to Cameroon.
That happened when I was 17 years old. While attending one of his regular appointments at an immigration office in Bolton, where he lives, Ngamba suddenly noticed a large police presence around him.
“They told me ‘you are under arrest’ and I couldn’t believe it. So I started crying and my brother was also arrested,” she said. “We just disappeared at night.
“They took us all the way to London to a detention center and I stayed there for the night. At that point I thought it was the end. Because I had my dad here, I had my family here, I had my brothers here.”
“I learned about the lives of so many people, some people were going to be sent back the next day, some people had been there so many years to wait to be sent back or wait for their papers to be sorted out. Learning about all of these stories.
“I didn’t know what to think. I was blank. I felt sorry for myself. I felt helpless. Thankfully they let us go two days later.”
She had to be released. Cameroon would not be safe for Ngamba. Human rights groups have documented the increasing persecution of LGBTQ+ people in the country.
“Because of my sexuality,” he explained. “In Cameroon it is illegal to be gay. It’s illegal to have any kind of sexuality instead of being straight, because you get killed, jailed and tortured. That was one of the reasons I was given refugee status. “
She has the document that confirms her as a refugee so she can travel to dedicate herself to boxing. She is still waiting for citizenship, despite living in the UK since she was 10 years old.
“I barely remember being in Cameroon,” Ngamba said. “I was very young. I went to school here, I went to university, now I’m going to university, I have friends, I have my family, everyone, basically I can say I’m a British citizen.
“I still talk to my teachers at school. This is my home. When I tell people how long I’ve been in this country, they’re all shocked. They’re like, ‘Wow, they haven’t done it yet.’ Did you fix her papers?
“It’s not that easy. It may sound easy when I tell you how many years I’ve been here in the UK, but it’s not easy. It’s all to do with immigration, the Home Office.”
“I just have to wait a couple of years and pray and hope for the best. Hopefully they can fix it for me.”
Without a British passport you cannot box for GB. But she trains with the Olympic team in Sheffield and is able to enter the international competition for the Fair Chance refugee team.
“It’s just a waiting game. I’m grateful to GB because if it wasn’t for them, the refugee team wouldn’t have been able to find me to give me the scholarship to help me and travel and go to training camps with GB.” ,” she said.
But she longs to represent Great Britain, ultimately, at the Olympics.
“I tell everyone and I tell you: I want to be able to compete for GB. That’s my dream,” he said.
“Standing on stage with my medal and saying that I competed for my country, I won a medal for my country. That is the most beautiful.
“Lauren (Price) and Karriss (Artingstall), Galal (Yafai), Frazer (Clarke), Ben (Whittaker), Pat (McCormack), they all did it and I looked at them and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s great.’ I want to do that someday.
“That’s my dream. All I have to do is keep working hard.”
For the Paris Olympics next year, Ngamba would be a key medal hope for GB.
Boxing at the national level Ngamba has already accomplished something very rare. She is a three-time Elite National Champion but remarkably did it in descending order.
Ngamba won his first England boxing elite title at light heavyweight, his second at middleweight and his third most recently at light-middleweight, 70kg.
“No one has ever done that, gone from top to bottom,” he said. “It was an incredible process. I had to learn a lot about myself.”
Earlier this month, he won a gold medal at the Bocskai tournament in Hungary, one of the key events on the European circuit that Olympic champions like Anthony Joshua have won before.
“It means a lot to me. I’m very grateful. There are many more to come,” she said. “I think I’ve earned my place as an international boxer. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I deserve to be there and my hard work will pay off.”
“Lauren Price went there and also won a medal. Karriss and Galal and all the previous GB boxers went there and won medals. It was a big one, it was a big event. There were about 450 athletes there from different countries. They all got tested. .
“Everyone gave their best, that’s what matters.”
Ngamba’s goal remains constant. “I appreciate what I have. I can leave. Competing, training, doing what I love the most, doing what I’m good at, doing what God has given me as a gift,” she said.
“If they are not able to fix my documents, I will go to the Olympics in the refugee team. I have yet to qualify like all the boxers in the world. (But) that is plan B.”
At the moment his life remains in limbo. “You could say I’m used to it,” Ngamba said. “I’m not afraid. I do not scare. I do not worry.
“I trust myself and I just go in there and do my job.”