Dr John Lynch, Chairman of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, said; “Our sport has been the source of extraordinary and lasting pride to the Irish nation. John McNally won our first boxing medal in 1952 at the Games in Helsinki and 60 years later we are still delivering. It is our pride and passion. Our sport is purely amateur, democratic, non-sectarian, community based and recognises no borders. It is a sport of the people.’’
The huge success in London is largely due to the formation of a coaching strategy put in place in 1989 by the IABA. The people responsible for preparing the ground for this golden age of Irish boxing include Gerry Story, Austin Carruth, Michael Hawkins, John Mahon, Brendan O’Conaire, and Gary Keegan. We thank all the Presidents of past years; in particular, current President Tommy Murphy. At grassroots level, the hard work of the clubs, boxing council, county boards, provincial council and team of volunteers produces these diamonds.
Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlon, Adam Nolan, Darren O’Neill, Billy Walsh, Peter Taylor and Zaur Antia have done their country proud. Their achievements in London have lifted the nation.
The IABA would like to thank the Government, successive Ministers and the Sports Council for the funding of boxing.
Dr Lynch concluded; ‘‘Some people think boxing is for the Olympics. And we prove today it is. But boxing is a passion for so many communities up and down the country. It is also one of the great spectator sports. Ask the thousands who stood in the sunshine in Bray on Thursday; ‘is it a great spectacle?’ –they’ll give you the answer.’’
The Irish boxing team finished in 5th position in the medals table and in 6th position in the rankings table at the 30th Olympiad.
Great Britain, Ukraine, Cuba, Russia and Ireland, in that order, finished in the top five in the medals table.
Kazakhstan, China, Japan, USA and Italy made up the top ten.
Great Britain, Russia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Ireland, China, USA, Italy and Brazil, in that order, commanded the top ten positions in the rankings table.
Hosts Great Britain had an outstanding tournament and topped both tables.
Ireland, courtesy of Katie Taylor’s gold medal win, finished in joint second spot with Great Britain in the women’s medal table. The USA finished in pole positions after winning gold and bronze.
Ireland were using a six-strong Irish squad in London, the smallest panel of any of the nations in the top-ten.
Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan won gold, silver and two bronze medals at London 2012.
Taylor also scooped the Best Female Boxer of the Tournament Award, an historic first as female boxing was making its Olympic debut in the English capital.
Kazakhstan’s Serik Sapiyev – who had an outstanding tournament at welterweight – was the proud recipient of the Val Barker award for best male boxer.
Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua, the Ukrainian duo Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko, and Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias and Robeisy Ramirez were also in the running for the prestigious Val Barker accolade.
Nevin, Barnes and Conlan lost to eventual gold medalists – Great Britain’s Luke Campbell, Ramirez and China’s Zou Shiming – in London.
Adam Nolan, who won one contest, was beaten by Russian welterweight Andrey Zamkovoy, a bronze medal winner at the 2012 Games.
Team captain Darren O’Neill, who proudly led out team Ireland at last night’s Closing Ceremony, also won one bout in London.
O’Neill, Bray BC team-mates Nolan and Taylor, and Conlan, made their Olympic debuts in London. Barnes and Nevin were appearing in successive Olympiads.
Overall, Ireland finished in 41st position in the medals table at the XXX Olympiad.
Cian O’Connor claimed a magnificent bronze medal for Ireland in showjumping.
Team Ireland are due to arrive home via Dublin Airport at 1.30pm today.