EXPANSION: Snake Pit’s Torin O’Brien in the boxing ring of the outdoor gym he has set up in the courtyard of his existing gym in Rockhampton. Pictures: Allan Reinikka.
EXPANSION: Snake Pit’s Torin O’Brien in the boxing ring of the outdoor gym he has set up in the courtyard of his existing gym in Rockhampton. Pictures: Allan Reinikka.

Snake Pit’s fighters on front foot despite COVID

MUAY THAI: Trainer Torin O’Brien has watched his young students thrive during the Covid-19 crisis, albeit through a computer screen.

The owner of Rockhampton’s Snake Pit Gym is impressed at how his charges – and their parents – embraced online classes when the pandemic forced the closure of his and all gyms across the country.

“When I first went with this idea it was not about getting the kids better over this time, it was just to keep them where they were at and make sure they did not fall behind,” O’Brien said.

“To my surprise, they actually improved – and improved a lot, particularly on the defensive side of things.”

O’Brien lent equipment such as pads and punching bags to the families to ensure the young fighters could keep training.

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“For a couple of weeks it was a little weird but then we all got really comfortable with it,” he said.

“The kids were fantastic but I have to give a big shout-out to the parents. They didn’t hesitate, they just jumped in and got better and better and now they are like little trainers themselves.”

O’Brien said it was a challenge structuring classes that would suit every one of his members because he never knew just who would be logging on at any given time.

Classes were held in Snake Pit’s outdoor gym yesterday after Covid-19 restrictions were eased on Saturday. Picture: Allan Reinikka.
Classes were held in Snake Pit’s outdoor gym yesterday after Covid-19 restrictions were eased on Saturday. Picture: Allan Reinikka.

The classes were not the only focus for O’Brien during the virus-enforced hiatus. He also completed an outdoor gym in the courtyard of his existing gym.

That meant students were able to return to training on-site yesterday under strict protocols.

The easing of restrictions from last Saturday allows gatherings of up to 10 people for outdoor, non-contact activity.

O’Brien sought clear direction from Queensland Health about just what was allowed and “everything was in place” to guarantee a Covid-safe environment.

He said he planned to stick with outdoor training when things returned to normal.

“It’s fully equipped. It has a full competition boxing ring, there’s extra mat space for additional work, there’s punching bags attached to the brick walls and we’ve covered it with waterproof shade sails,” he said.

“It’s come together so well that we’ll now do the majority of our training outdoors. If the weather is bad, we still have our indoor space and can move in there if we have to.”

O’Brien said it was an “enormous relief” for him and other gym owners to finally have a time frame to work around on the road back from Covid-19.

“I don’t think many people could fully appreciate the stresses involved,” he said.

“In terms of me going back early because we’ve got the outdoor gym, it’s absolutely great.

“But I think for other owners, even if they can’t do anything for another month, just having a date and knowing when they can get back has helped ease some pressure.”