OFI celebrates Aidan Walsh in “The Longest Ten Seconds”.

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Aidan Walsh’s Olympic bronze medal moment is revisited in the second video in a three-part mini docuseries from the Olympic Federation of Ireland. The series reflects on some of the stories behind the Team Ireland Tokyo 2020 medallists. The Belfast boxer wrote his name in the annals of Ireland’s sporting greats when his arm was raised in the quarterfinals of the Men’s Welterweight boxing event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

‘The Longest Ten Seconds’ explores Aidan Walsh’s journey to Olympic success.  Belfast boxing has a rich history, with Walsh’s bronze being one of ten Olympic boxing medals to return to Belfast, in the sport that has constituted over half of Team Ireland’s thirty-five Olympic medals.

The strength and depth of Irish boxing is such that for many boxers, the hardest competition is against your teammate. Aidan Walsh started 2021 ranked third in the country, with only one athlete in each category to be selected for the crucial Olympic qualification tournament in Paris in June 2021. At that competition, at the height of the pandemic, he qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the key step towards achieving his Olympic dream of winning a medal for Ireland.

Less than two months later Walsh was walking into the ring in Tokyo for the most important fight of his life, with one thing on his mind, an Olympic medal.

“Being there was surreal, when you look down you can see the Olympic rings on the canvas. For me, there I am, in the Olympic ring. All the people that I had always watched, always looked up to, always admired, there I was standing there. I knew I had to be smart. I knew that I just stick to the game plan, stick to what the coaches were telling me, and I can’t go wrong, I’ll be an Olympic medallist.”

Aidan Walsh

In an evenly matched fight, as Walsh progressed through, he took control of his opponent Merven Clair from Mauritius, eventually winning 4-1. Describing the intensity of the final ten seconds following the match, waiting for the verdict, Walsh said,

“The split second when there’s complete silence. The whole arena is waiting to announce who has won. It was like my whole life flashed before my eyes! Those ten seconds were like the longest ten seconds of my life

Aidan Walsh

This is the second of three films that mark some of the moments behind Team Ireland’s Tokyo 2020 medallists. Last month the rise of the Women’s Four to Olympic bronze in rowing was released with ‘BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS’.