Lifetime award for Holy Trinity legend Michael Hawkins

Holy Trinity coach Michael Hawkins was presented with a lifetime achievement award from new IABA president Gerry O'Mahony and secretary Antoinette Faye-McClean at the club's 50th anniversary gala evening in Belfast's Balmoral Hotel on Saturday night. Picture: Seamus Loughran
Neil Loughran

HOLY Trinity stalwart Michael Hawkins received an Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) lifetime achievement award at the club’s 50th anniversary gala evening in Belfast's Balmoral Hotel on Saturday night.

Hawkins - who coached Irish teams at the 1988 and 1996 Olympic Games - is a highly-respected figure within the fight game, and has been a driving force behind the success of the Turf Lodge club over the last half a century.

In that time, Holy Trinity has produced 38 national elite champions and 72 Ulster elite champions - and that’s only at senior level. However, the club’s connection with its community runs much deeper than medals, with thousands of aspiring young boxers coming through its doors since they first opened.

And Hawkins’s enthusiasm remains undimmed as he continues to pass on his wisdom.

“I know just how much this lifetime award means to boxing people - I'm just blown away by this tonight. Totally out of the blue,” he said.

“I wish to thank the IABA for this honour and I'll accept this not just for me, the Holy Trinity is not just about me, I’ll accept it on behalf of my family, for the Turf Lodge community and for all the coaches and boxers and officials who have all pulled together down the years to make the club what it is today.

“I thank them all, it's been a real team effort. This honour is for them all.”

At Saturday night’s event in Belfast’s Balmoral hotel, which was attended by over 200 familiar faces - including Olympic gold medallists Michael Carruth and Mary Peters - new IABA president Gerry O’Mahony and secretary Antoinette Faye-McClean presented Michael Hawkins with his award.