AN 11-year-old from Poole with a mild form of cerebral palsy has found new strength in her legs since taking up kickboxing.

Gabrielle Reid, who has right hemiplegia, which affects her muscle control and movement, has been kickboxing for the past two years through a recommendation, with Mo Kargbo at Primitive Gym, on Ashley Road.

Gabrielle has increased tone and tightness in her right leg and her mum, Lisa, says that up until recently her right foot plantar flexed, meaning that she walked on her tiptoe. Her right leg is also slightly shorter than her left leg, which affects her balance and co-ordination.

Lisa said: "It became obvious after a few months the benefits that kickboxing was having on Gabrielle. Her leg was getting stronger, her balance was improving and she was generally a lot happier in herself."

Lisa said that Gabrielle talked endlessly about kickboxing and spent all week looking forward to her weekly classes so they made the decision to allow her daughter to have private lessons, which helped Gabrielle flourish further.

"Gabrielle's physiotherapist recently watched a video of Gabrielle doing kickboxing and was absolutely astonished.

"In fact she was so amazed by Gabrielle's progress that she will now consider recommending it to other children who possess mild cerebral palsy and other disabilities."

Lisa said that Gabrielle now hopes to fight at a professional level in the future after experiencing huge success in the sport and vast improvements to her physical health.

"I have no doubt that with her positive attitude and her admirable determination to succeed her dream shall become a reality."