Amy Broadhurst given green light for possible shock switch to Team GB in bid to reignite Olympic dream

Dundalk woman informed IABA of desire to switch allegiance after being overlooked for Irish qualifier squad

It is a year since Amy Broadhurst won World gold in Turkey. Picture by Sportsfile
2022 World champion could be in the frame to box for Team GB, rather than Ireland, at this summer's Olympic Games in Paris. Picture by Sportsfile

AMY Broadhurst has been given the green light to complete a remarkable switch from Ireland to Team GB in a bid to reignite her Olympic dream – one that could set her on a potential collision course with Kellie Harrington.

It is understood the Dundalk woman was contacted by Team GB at the end of last week, after The Irish News revealed that neither she nor fellow 2022 World champion Lisa O’Rourke would be assessed for the 66kg spot at May’s final World qualifier.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) have instead opted to send Grainne Walsh to Thailand after the Offaly woman came so close to securing her Paris 2024 spot at the first World qualifier in Italy earlier this month.

As a result, Broadhurst – a multi-weight Irish champion throughout the past decade - requested to switch her allegiance in a bid to keep the Olympic door open, with the IABA confirming that they “will not stand in her way”.

“We were contacted by Amy Broadhurst who has indicated that she intends to seek a change of nationality in a bid to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games,” read a statement.

“We have discussed this with IABA and Sport Ireland and have expressed our disappointment, while wanting to ensure that she understands the full ramifications of this request and the advice she might be receiving if she decides to go ahead with it.

“We have indicated that if she really thinks that this is best for her as a person and an athlete after these discussions that we will not stand in her way.”

Broadhurst qualifies for Team GB through her Slough-born father Tony.

Indeed, this is not the first time overtures have been made in her direction, with the 27-year-old previously sounded out by GB Boxing chief executive Matt Holt about the possibility of boxing for England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

But after transferring club from Dealgan in Dundalk to St Bronagh’s, Rostrevor, she won gold for Team NI in Birmingham

That was the last time Broadhurst boxed competitively at lightweight, her favoured weight class, where the significant roadblock of Olympic gold medallist Harrington has inhibited her international ambitions at 60kg.

If she is selected, and manages to win one of the three quota places up for grabs in Bangkok, it would open up the possibility of a meeting between the two most successful Irish female boxers of recent times.

However, the switch is not without considerable obstacles. Making that weight again is one, while teams must be selected and submitted to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) boxing taskforce by April 17 – less than three weeks away.

It can also take up to three years for the IOC to approve applications from athletes to declare for another country. That can be expedited, though they have to be approved by the IOC executive board.

If she does compete at the second World qualifier, which takes place in Bangkok from May 23-June 3, it will be Broadhurst’s second crack at making it to Paris.

Last summer she was selected for the European qualifier ahead of Walsh and O’Rourke at 66kg, only to lose a split decision at the hands of potential future Team GB team-mate Rosie Eccles in the last eight.