Ireland weighing up sending team to European Championships

IABA national secretary Paddy Gallagher, pictured with Amy Broadhurst, says the Association would be keen to host a national competition before sending a team to June's European U22 Championships. Picture by Mark Marlow
Neil Loughran

THE Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) is weighing up the possibility of sending a team to the European U22 Championships in June – provided they could gain government approval for boxers to prepare properly.

Ireland have been absent from several international competitions this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with clubs across the country still awaiting the green light to reopen their doors after spending most of the past year shut.

Earlier this week the European Boxing Council issued dates for the upcoming European U22 Championships, which will take place in Italy from June 15-25. This event is open to boxers born between 1998 and 2002, meaning some of Ireland’s top emerging talents would be vying for selection.

However, in order to send a team, the IABA says it would be “desirable” to host a national event first – yet only elite boxers are currently permitted to compete, as Ireland builds towards this summer’s rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Also, clubs in the north are not expected to open until next month at the earliest - with the south possibly even further behind - while restrictions are likely to be in place when boxers do return.

However, with the IABA keen not to miss out on any more international competition, national secretary Paddy Gallagher says a case for reopening “as soon as possible” should be made to the Irish government and Sport Ireland’s expert group.

“In order to present the best possible case for hosting an event, we need to have an idea of the number of potential boxers who would be willing to take part, if permission was granted by the expert group,” said Gallagher, whose communication included an expression of interest form for any coach who feels his/her boxer is of the required standard.

“It is important to note that by completing this form, boxers and coaches are not allowed to resume training. The purpose of this form is to gather relevant data regarding interested participants.

“Training will only resume when the government and health authorities give us permission to do so.”

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