CH's Conwell secures spot on U.S. Olympic boxing team
Heights High senior Charles Conwell, 18, has just returned home from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing team. When he arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Monday, March 21, he was greeted by cheering family and friends who were there to celebrate Conwell’s achievement.
Conwell competed with 11 other American boxers, both men and women, at the Americas Olympic Qualifier, which took place in Buenos Aires, March 11–19. A middleweight boxer, at 5 feet 9 inches and 165 pounds, Conwell is the youngest member of the Team USA boxing squad that will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"I'm so excited to be home! And finally on the 2016 Olympic team," said Conwell. "This is not just for me, but for my family, friends and all those who support me. My next step, now, is prom and graduation, and spending time with my family and friends."
Conwell said his biggest inspiration is his family, who help motivate and push him to strive harder. "One of my biggest dreams came true," he said of making the Olympic team.
Conwell noted that the U.S Olympic boxing team is not yet final, and two more qualifying events will determine who of the remaining contenders will make the team. Conwell said he was fortunate to make the cut in the first qualifier, and noted, "We have to train severely before going to the Olympics."
"It's a great opportunity to compete for the United States. I'm [going to] bring home the Gold!" exclaimed Conwell.
According to the Team USA website, www.teamusa.org, Conwell was first introduced to boxing at the age of 11, by his father and coach, Charles Conwell. He also trains with Otha Jones II and Roshawn Jones with Team TUFF Boxing Academy and Soul City Boxing.
Conwell is a member of the Heights Youth Club of Cleveland Heights, where his friends, family and supporters held a send-off celebration in January, before Conwell headed to the Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., to prepare for the upcoming international qualifying tournaments.
Conwell has previously won numerous boxing awards and championships. He won a national Junior Olympics title in 2013. The following year, he was the Junior and Youth Open champion and the Youth Continental champion. Last year, Conwell won a national Golden Gloves championship. It was his first time competing in the event, and the first time in many years that someone from the Cleveland area had won a Golden Gloves championship. Conwell was also named the Under Armour Youth Male Boxer of the Year in 2015.
Editor's note: On April 18, Conwell's family set up a fundraising account through gofundme.com to help support Charles' wish to share his Olympic experience with his parents and two siblings in Brazil. The campaign has been established to raise funds to help defray some of the travel expenses for the Conwell family.
Andrea C. Turner
Andrea C. Turner is the managing editor of the Heights Observer.