A five-strong Irish Athletic Third-Level Boxing Association team depart Friday for the World University Boxing Championships in Thailand.
Ceire Smith, a multiple Irish Elite champion, and current Irish Elite champion Christina Desmond line out at fly and middle at Chiang Mai University.
Big Kenneth Okungbowa, a two-time Irish Elite finalist, competes at heavyweight,and Conor Wallace,also an Irish Elite finalist, and Irish U/23 champion Gary McKenna wear the middleweight and lightweight vests.
Eamonn O’Kane and Cathal McMonagle competed in the inaugural World University Championships in 2004 in Turkey. McMonagle reached the last-eight, the nearest an IATBA athlete has got to a medal at this level.
However, that’s a statistic the Irish panel will be looking to change at the 7th edition of the tournament, according to Irish Youth Olympian Desmond.
“It’s an experienced squad and I would be quietly confident that we can do well, said the ex AIBA World Youth silver medallist.
“It will be a quality tournament as some of the top boxing nations will be there and we’ll all have to perform, but there’s plenty of experience in the squad and hopefully we can do well. I definitely think this team can win some medals,” added the Cork southpaw.
Twenty four nations represented by approximately 300 athletes are slated to compete in south east Asia.
Boxing begins next Monday.
Men’s weights – 46kg – 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg,81kg, 91kg, +91kg
Women’s weights: 48kg to 51kg, 57kg to 60kg, 69kg to 75kg
IATBA Squad 7th World University Championships Thailand, October 3/8
51kg Ceire Smith – Cavan BC & DCU
60kg Gary McKenna – Old School BC Monaghan & University of Ulster
75kg Christina Desmond – Fr Horgans BC & LIT
75kg Conor Wallace – St Monica’s Newry & Southern Regional College, Newry
91kg Kenneth Okungbowa – Athlone BC & AIT
Team manager: Paul Geoghegan
Coach: Paddy Gallagher