Ireland’s eleven strong team leave tonight for the Black Sea resort of Albena in North Eastern Bulgaria and the 2013 AIBA World Youth and Junior Championships, September 22nd/29th.
Five of the Irish squad are from Mayo– Jacqui Lynch, Golden Gloves BC, Grainne Gavin, Castlebar BC, Ciara Ginty ,Geesala BC, Lycia Henneghan ,Aiglish BC and Ciara Sheedy,Swinford BC , a sign of the strength of women’s boxing in the county.
The President of the Mayo Boxing Board Joe Hennigan says this is but the beginning :
“This is a new era for Mayo Boxing and especially Female boxing as never before in my 40-year history involved with boxing have so many Mayo boxers being involved in the European and World championships.
“Great credit must go to the club coaches and the Mayo Female development squad which was set up last season and we are now reaping the rewards from the dedicated and committed work of the coaching team, “ he added.
Limerick’s highly experienced Anna Moore will be Irish team manager in Albena whilst Belfast legend Gerry Storey, John McCormack and Antoinette Just will be working Ireland’s corner.
Katie Taylor was with the Irish team at the recent European Union championships in Hungary when the combined Senior Elite, Youth and Juniors took 15 medals and though the competition will be much tougher in Albena with competitors such
as the U.S Olympic Gold medallist Claressa Shields taking part, nonetheless Taylor has high hopes for the young Irish team in this and future international competitions .
“It’s an absolute privilege to be a role model for these young girls. Everything is set in place for them now. They have everything to box for” said the Olympic and four times World Champion in a recent Newstalk interview
“It’ll be great to see these girls getting the funding they need to train full time. They need that support so they can progress and be the best they can be.”
“If you had asked me a couple of years ago what the future of Irish women’s boxing was like, I wouldn’t have known what to say. But seeing the
young girls coming up now, and seeing their attitude and their focus, they were absolutely brilliant over there (in Hungary).
They’re the stars of the future. I’m really excited to see what they’re going to do.”
The Irish Amateur Boxing Association though does need to heed Katie’s words as repeated here : “It’ll be great to see these girls getting the funding they need to train full time. They need that support so they can progress and be the best they can be.”
For many years in her own early days Taylor struggled to receive adequate funding in Ireland and that simply cannot be allowed to happen if this squad are to progress on the world stage and achieve their full potential. The IABA must ensure that women’s boxing and these young ladies plus those that
follow receive the same level of funding as the Male Elite,Youth,Junior and Schoolboys. No more but no less. Admirable as it is that such as Antoinette Faye recently organised a funding concert, Ignite the light, at the National Stadium the IABA themselves must do more, much more to support the women boxers too.
Katie Taylor is a “one off” but several of this team can follow in her footsteps and achieve success and glory for themselves and their country but before that can happen the IABA MUST do more, MUCH MORE , to provide adequate funding .