Boxing

Boxer Brendan Irvine 'proud' as official selection for second Olympics confirmed

Brendan Irvine's official Team Ireland selection was confirmed yesterday, over a year after he sealed his spot at Tokyo 2020. Picture by Sportsfile
Neil Loughran

IT’S over a year since he dramatically sealed his place at Tokyo 2020, but Brendan Irvine’s place as a double Olympian has been officially confirmed after the Belfast boxer was officially selected to represent Ireland at this summer’s rescheduled Games.

The St Paul’s flyweight - just 20 when he represented Ireland in Rio five years ago - secured his spot at the European Olympic boxing qualifier in London in March 2020, on the same evening the event was postponed due to growing concern over the spread of Covid-19.

“I’m really delighted to be selected to compete in my second Olympic Games,” said Irvine, who had battled back from wrist and foot injuries to force his way back into the qualification frame.

“It is always an honour to wear the Irish top, but to wear in an Olympic venue is particularly special. Tokyo will be its own unique experience. We may not have the loud cheers of Rio, but that won’t stop me.

“I am looking forward to getting out there and representing my country once more with pride.”

One man who was hugely impressed with Irvine’s efforts in qualifying for a second Olympics, and by his attitude in the year between, is Irish Athletic Boxing Association High Performance director Bernard Dunne.

“What Brendan has achieved in becoming a double Olympian is remarkable, especially considering the challenges and setbacks that he has had over the past two years,” said the former World super-bantamweight champion.

“He has had limited chances to compete, and in his first major competition in almost two years, he qualified for the Olympic Games. This shows his drive and determination, qualities which are why we chose him as captain and leader.

“It is a credit to him to get where he is and is a fantastic achievement. Brendan is a great example to all our athletes, he followed the path and never lost belief. Through all his setbacks, he had good support around him and that helped too.”

The boxing tournament in Tokyo takes place in the Kokugikan Arena and will run from Monday, July 26 until Saturday, August 7.

Ireland has now achieved 65 quota spots across 13 sports, with Irvine joining canoe slalom racer Liam Jegou and Jack Woolley from Taekwondo as officially selected Team Ireland members for the Games.

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