The IABA team to contest the First Olympic World Qualifier in Busto Arsizio, Italy, has been named.
The 8 strong team will contest the tournament at all Olympic weights available, following the qualification for Paris 2024 of reigning lightweight champion Kellie Harrington, Tokyo Olympians Aoife O’Rourke and Michaela Walsh, and Jack Marley and Dean Clancy. All win booked their tickets to Paris at the 2023 European Games in Nowy Targ, Poland.
4 quota places are available in Busto Arsizio in each weight IABA contests – Women’s 50kg, 54kg, and 66kg, and Men’s 51kg, 57kg, 71kg, 80kg and 92+kg. This means that a Quarter Finals win will mean a place at Paris is assured.
A total of 248 boxers will compete in boxing at Paris 2024, with 124 women and 124 men taking part. France, as host nation, have secured six automatic quotas for the Games – three for men and three for women, while there will also be nine Universality Places awarded, with five for women and four for men.
The IABA team includes Tokyo bronze medalist at 71kg, Aidan Walsh, European Games athletes Daina Moorehouse (50kg), Jennifer Lehane (54kg), Sean Mari (51kg), Jude Gallagher (57kg) and Kelyn Cassidy (80kg), along with superheavy, Martin McDonagh – who claimed three Irish titles, U22, Senior and Elite, in a ten month period in 2023.
50kg Daina Moorehouse, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow
54kg Jennifer Lehane, DCU Boxing Club, Dublin
66kg Grainne Walsh, St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght, Dublin
51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin
57kg Jude Gallagher, Two Castles ABC, Tyrone
71kg Aidan Walsh, Holy Family GG BC, Belfast
80kg Kelyn Cassidy, Saviours Crystal, Waterford
92+kg Martin McDonagh, Crumlin BC, Dublin
High Performance Head Coach, Zauri Antia, says “This is a wonderful team – their preparations have been excellent, and they are very focused. It is a great honour, and a remarkable achievement, to box for Ireland at this level, in the hope of becoming an Olympian. I congratulate each and every one of the boxers, and their clubs, club coaches and families”.
High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle, says “After a testing 6-month evaluation process these 8 athletes have thoroughly earned selection for the first World Olympic Qualifying tournament. Their commitment to training and self-improvement has been strongly led by Head Coach Zauri Antia and ably supported by Damian Kennedy. The contribution of Club coaches also needs to be recognized, as does the vital role that coaches from the Paris Pool Coach programme have played. Without these coaches working cooperatively for the betterment of their athletes, we would not feel as well-prepared heading into such an important Olympic qualifier event.
We have set a target of 8 qualifications for the Paris Olympic Games and with 5 of these already achieved at the 2023 European Games, we are on-track and may well qualify a bigger team. It is not an easy task but key to achieving this is the world-class daily training environment at the Sport Ireland Institute that we are so fortunate to have. The IABA High Performance Unit is the envy of many countries and without the continued support of Sport Ireland and the Institute if would be difficult to prepare the athletes to the level required for international success.”
Athletes will finalize their preparations at a training camp in Assisi, hosted by the Italian Boxing Federation. This has been a very successful location for IABA athletes – Team Ireland held their final sparring camp there before the European Games, and it has been the launch-pad for achievement at the 2022 Women’s World Championships and 2022 Men’s European Championships.”