Seven-fighter Maria Huntington, 23, spoke on Tuesday night about her new project, an academy bearing her name that supports youth hobbies.

- It is important for me to give back and allow others a similar opportunity to engage.

According to the academy, two partners have already left, a certain amount of the contract will go directly to this academy.

Huntington tells Ilta-Sanomat that the idea for the academy began to swell last autumn when he was at Lempäälä's Ideapark holding a collection of equipment for low-income children and young people.

- We were eating with my manager (Noora Toivo) the night before.

We thought we would like to help in some more concrete way.

This idea was born, and we have since considered how things should be put into practice.

Now the academy could be made public with the participation of Huntington’s recent partners Lumo Energia and Hartwall Novelle.

Huntington told Instagram that telling him about the new project excited him more than any some publication for a long time.

But why?

- Someone excited about it when this is a new thing and many athletes have never done this before.

Somehow there was an idea to dare, even though I knew this was a great and good thing.

Excited about how the matter will be received, but the reception has been insanely good, Huntington smiles.

Huntington has already received a lot of messages, especially from parents of children and young people, but also from a few young athletes.

In an interview with Yle last fall, Huntington dared to talk for the first time about his own childhood and youth in a low-income family.

He knows that talking about a topic is not easy.

The matter is also taken into account in the activities of the Academy.

- The point is that many young people do not want to admit that they are in such a situation.

It takes quite a lot of squares to dare to talk.

The names of the young people elected to the Academy will by no means be published, but they will of course remain anonymous.

- We may tell you what kind of support the aid has gone to.

That way, young people don’t have to be ashamed of this in any way, they just get unselfish help, Huntington says.

- At least I experienced in a situation where I didn't want to be announcing how difficult it is for us and how I have been supported and helped.

Maria Huntington photographed last summer at the Kaleva Games. Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

The public debate on the hobbies of children and young people in particular has recently been hot, with activities being restricted around the country due to the corona pandemic, but especially in the metropolitan area.

The subject is difficult, says Huntington.

- This is such a new time that there is no equally clear answer as to what or how to do.

I agree with many of the children's hobbies should not even be in some way allows.

Is it then a joint exercise outdoors, but it would be important to get to exercise together.

The so-called exercise bomb, ie the immobility of children and young people, has been the subject of talk even before the corona restrictions.

Do you still see as many children and young enthusiasts in athletics fields or gyms today as when Maria Huntington was a child and a young man?

- Perhaps such that volunteering to spin, move and play on sports fields has somewhat diminished or at least changed shape.

Huntington believes it is important that young people have the opportunity to try different species as widely as possible.

In addition to athletics, he himself tried or practiced orienteering, volleyball, scaffolding and swimming.

Basketball remained a hobby for a long time.

Clubs were often selected according to where the season fees were cheapest.

- Hockey, for example, is a really expensive hobby, but it would be important for everyone to be able to try different sports and think about what would be their own thing.

Not everyone needs to become top athletes, but it’s important that young people get to exercise without the pressure of anything.