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Mystery surrounds identities of Irish boxers involved in Rio betting controversy

Belfast boxers Paddy Barnes, left, and Michael Conlan have denied involvement in any "inappropriate betting activity" at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
Gareth McKeown

TWO Irish boxers have been investigated over betting at Rio 2016, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has confirmed.

It is understood the boxers were spoken to about "inappropriate betting activity" during the Olympics, but no details have yet emerged of what sports the bets were placed on, nor has anyone been identified.

Athletes and officials placing bets at the Olympic Games is not illegal, but is against the rules of the International Olympics Council (IOC).

In the wake of the allegations Belfast boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have said they were not involved.

They were ten male boxers and five females named as part of the Irish Olympic team but before the games began middleweight boxer Michael O'Reilly (23) was prevented from competing after failing a drugs test. The Portlaoise Boxing Club fighter said he unintentionally took a supplement that may have contained a banned substance.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) said it had been made aware of the betting allegations adding it would be "very disappointed if any members of the team have engaged in a prohibited activity under the Conditions of Participation".

The controversy is the latest in what was a miserable games for the Irish Olympic team in Rio, with no medals in Ireland's most successful Olympic sport - boxing.

Former OCI president Pat Hickey is still being held in a Rio prison after being arrested 12 days ago in relation to the alleged illegal sale of Olympic tickets.

Kevin Mallon, who was the first to be arrested in relation to the ticketing scandal on August 5, has been released on bail. The pair deny any wrongdoing.

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