Chantelle takes the Gold in Thailand

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

Young Muay Thai fighter Chantelle Tippet, a 16-year-old student from Okehampton College, has recently achieved her biggest victory to date by winning gold at the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IMFA) Youth World Championships in Thailand this August.

After becoming British Champion on 3rd June in Manchester, Chantelle was selected to represent Team GB in the 34kg female category aged 16-17.

The competition was held at the National Stadium in Bangkok between the 3rd and 11th August and is the IMFA’s largest and most renowned tournament, attended by elite athletes from 79 countries and all five continents. It was an exceptionally proud moment for Chantelle and her mother Lisa as she led out Team GB, carrying the flag in the opening ceremony.

The UK was one of 11 countries competing in Chantelle’s weight division with the other competitors from Russia, Thailand, Finland, Turkey, New Zealand, Sweden, France, the USA, Iran and Australia. Chantelle successfully fought off opponents Varvara Shestakova from Russia and Valerie Sanchez of the USA in her first two bouts. Securing her place in the semi-final, Chantelle then disposed of France’s Ines Pilutti Bombardieri, before going on to beat Australian Britney Lee Dolheguy in the final.

Chantelle is trained and coached by Steve Pender and Christi Brereton and represents the Team Chaos Muay Thai and Fitness centre, based at Fatherford Farm in Okehampton. Christi herself a former junior world champion and now ranked number one in the Bantamweight division, founded the gym with Steve in 2012 following successful classes in the villages surrounding Okehampton and with the help and support of OCRA (Okehampton Community Recreation Association).

Chantelle first started Muay Thai at the tender age of 10 years old and her talent and determination were immediately spotted by Steve and Christi and she was soon invited to join their Saturday morning ‘fight club’ sessions at the Chaos Gym. Chantelle has competed all around the country and oversees, with an impressive record of only 12 loses and multiple English, British and European titles to her name and having claimed silver and bronze in the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. However, as Lisa and Christi explained it is a constant challenge financially as the sport receives no funding at the present time, although it gained Olympic recognition in March.

Her preparation began 15 weeks before the tournament and in the midst of studying for her GCSE exams. Her day began at 6am when she would meet her fellow gym members for a three-mile run and later two training sessions incorporating cardio, pad work, strength conditioning and sparring.

After finishing her exams (for which she gained impressive results) instead of celebrating and partying with her friends, Chantelle continued to drink water and follow a strict nutritional regime, including a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, protein, avocados and absolutely no processed food. Throughout the tournament, Chantelle had to weigh daily and stay below 54kg or she would have been disqualified.

Last year she started to fight at a professional level and is currently unbeaten and ranked number six in the Bantamweight division. When asked about her future ambitions Chantelle answered, “to move up through the rankings, however I would worry about having to fight Christi.” She also hopes to compete in the Olympics in 2024 if Muay Thai is chosen as an Olympic sport.

One thing is for sure, Steve and Christi at Team Chaos are doing something right with another of their athletes, rising star 15-year-old Josh Breslin, becoming UK number one and claiming the British Championship title for his age and weight on the 26th August.

Muay Thai is a tactical ring sport scored over 3-5 two-minute rounds, by moving your opponent using kicks, punches, knees and throws; elbows and head contact are not allowed at a junior level.

If you are interested in giving Muay Thai a try or would like to find out more about the sport visit: Team Chaos Muay Thai and Fitness Centre on Facebook.