The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) today hosted a media briefing at the Institute of Sport, High Performance Training Centre, Abbotstown, Dublin.
Team Ireland Boxing has been hosting its largest ever multi-nation training camp involving over 70 Elite internationl boxers since last week.
Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, India and Kazakhstan are participating. All five countries have qualified 30 boxers for Rio 2016 so far. Twenty six of those Rio-bound athletes are in Abbotostown.
Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, an Olympic silver medallist and a two-weight AIBA World Elite Champion at flyweight and bantamweight, has been training specifically with Olympic champion Katie Taylor for over a week in Abbotstown.
Both women, who met in the 2010 Usti nad labem Grand Prix and the 2011 and 2012 European, World and Olympic finals, had their final spar today.
Taylor and an eight-strong Irish squad, which includes Donna Barr, Ceire Smith, Dervla Duffy, Moira McElliggot, Kelly Harrington, Grainne Walsh and Christina Desmond, leave for Kazakhstan on Friday ahead of the opening bell for the 9th AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Astana on May 19th.
The three Olympic weights for women are flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. Smith, Taylor and Desmond are Ireland’s representatives in these weights. The trio require a top-four finish (reach the semi-finals, which will also guarantee at least bronze) in Astana to qualify for Rio 2016.
The Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, India and Kazakhstan male squads are currently in an intensive preparation camp ahead of the final two qualifiers and the Olympic Games which begin on August 5th.
Four Irish boxers will compete in the light-welter, middleweight, heavyweight and super-heavyweight classes in the World qualifier for males in Baku, Azerbaijan between June 14th/26th.
A final World Series of Boxing versus AIBA Pro Boxing qualifier will be held at a host city to be confirmed in late June or July.
286 boxers – 250 men and 36 women – compete at each Olympics. The maximum amount of places a nation can earn at the Olympics is 13 – 10 men and 3 women.
So far, Kazakhstan, who have nine of their Rio 2016 athletes in Abbotstown, and Uzebekistan lead the way with eleven boxers each qualified. Ireland and Kazakhstan, who finished in joint 5th spot in the medals table at the London 2012 Olympics, met in a test match at Dublin’s National Stadium tonight.
Welcoming all to today’s media briefing, Pat Ryan, President of the IABA, said that the Irish team were enjoying a world class training camp with Germany, Great Britain, India and Kazakhstan at the magnificent facilities in Abbotstown.
The IABA chief added that all involved in Irish sport was looking forward to August’s Olympics and Irish boxing will be aiming to improve on the six boxers – Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward – qualified for Rio so far in the remaining qualifiers before the start of Games next August.
Speaking at today’s event, IABA CEO Fergal Carruth said: “On behalf of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, I would to extend a very warm welcome to everyone here this morning and thank you for coming to view this Multi-Nation Training Camp in the Institute of Sport’s High Performance Training Centre in Abbotstown.
“It is an honour to greet so many esteemed guests here today; Ken Spratt, Assistant Secretary General Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of Sport Ireland, and indeed Paul, Austin and Erika, James Galvin, CEO Federation of Irish Sport, and Martin Burke Olympic Council of Ireland.
“I believe, rightly so, we are all tremendously proud of our boxers and their huge success over the years. Having won 16 Olympic medals, the IABA are Ireland’s most successful Olympic Sport.
“And now with less than ninety days to go before the start of the Rio Games, having six of our athletes already qualified for the Olympics, we hope that you share in our excitement and optimism that 2016 can truly be another historic year for Irish boxing.
“Today’s event provides a unique opportunity to showcase some of the world’s leading boxing talent as we host our biggest ever Multi-nations training camp containing over seventy elite boxers from five nations, twenty six of which have already qualified for the Rio Olympics.
“As well as our dedicated volunteers throughout the thirty two counties of Ireland, the High Performance boxing unit has contributed significantly to the achievements of all our boxers at the highest international level.
“Key to this on-going success is the exceptionally high preparation and training standards given to our athletes. Today we are delighted to be able to give you a brief insight into the workings of our elite training camp and to showcase this new state of the art training facility here in Institute of Sport.
“I would like to give special mention to our High Performance Coaching and Support staff who are enabling our young boxers to develop, grow and become world class athletes and indeed thank them for their expertise and commitment.
“We have three more very important Rio qualifiers ahead over the coming weeks and I am confident that we will be able add to our current tally of six boxers heading to the upcoming Games.
“I would finally like to express my sincere thanks to all the staff here at the Institute of Sport who have been very supportive over the last number of weeks during the training camp.
“Once again, thank you for your continued support.”
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman for Sport Ireland, addressing the attendees, said that it was wonderful to see so many world class boxers in Abbotstown and looked forward to the remaining qualifiers for the 31st Olympiad and Olympic Games in August.
Irish head coach Zaur Antia led a media tour of the state-of-the-art facilities.
Rio 2016 Olympian David Oliver Joyce, describing the venue as top notch, said Team Ireland settled in immediately into their new training quarters and felt right at home. The three-time EU Elite champion was particularly pleased with the quality sparring at the camp which ends this weekend.
“We have world class boxers here under the one roof and it has been a fantastic training camp so far for the team heading into what is a crucial period for Irish boxing in the remaining qualifiers and the Olympic Games themselves,” said the St Michael’s Athy BC lightweight, who is signed with AIBA Pro Boxing.
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