IRISH flyweight Carly McNaul had told the Irish News she was ready to quit after her defeat to Charley Sian-Davison at the European qualifiers for Tokyo in London last March.
But over six months later and the east Belfast woman is determined to rekindle her Tokyo dream.
The 31-year-old was drafted into the 13-strong Irish team at the last minute as they finished up preparations for London, replacing Ceire Smith after the Cavan flyweight sustained a thumb injury during a training camp in Italy.
McNaul was the first Irish female boxer between the ropes at the London qualifiers but was beaten by England’s Sian-Davison.
Two days later the entire tournament was shelved because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When I got back, Covid happened and that was me, I was going into retirement,” said McNaul told the Irish News.
“I came back after getting beat and I was for packing it in. Everything was up in the air and then lockdown happened. Everyone else was doing 5k runs but I didn’t do any of that. After a while I ended up going back to training and it was such a relief to be able to get doing something.”
With Tokyo 2020 now Tokyo 2021 after being postponed for a year, McNaul has been afforded an opportunity to rebuild and come back stronger.
The one that really matters, though, is the World Olympic qualifier next May, and getting there for a shot at redemption remains Carly McNaul’s main goal.
“I’ve come this far, I might as well keep trying. Who knows what might happen?
“In a lot of ways Covid has been a Godsend because it has given me time to focus on me and what I need to do to become a better boxer – my style, my shape, just a whole lot of different things.
“The other qualifier is the big one. At the minute though I’m just happy to go with the flow, and what will be will be.”
Click here for London qualifiers results and where the Irish team stands in relation to the tournament.
Brendan Irvine qualified in the English capital but nine other Irish boxers are still in play at the European event.
(The European and World qualifiers for Tokyo are scheduled for next February/March and May/June at host cities to be confirmed).