Ireland’s 13-strong squad for the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London has been confirmed.
Boxing begins on March 13 at the Copperbox Arena in the English capital.
Dublin’s former (2018) World Elite lightweight champion Kellie Harrington is included on the Irish panel, along with Antrim’s and Roscommon’s current European Elite feather and middle champions Kurt Walker and Aoife O’Rourke.
Harrington claimed silver at the Strandja multi-nations in Sofia, Bulgaria last month in her first outing since picking up a hand injury at the European Games in Minsk last June.
Rio 2016 Olympian Brendan Irvine lines out at flyweight, and Antrim siblings Aidan and Michaela Walsh will wear the Irish welter and feather vests.
There was intense competition for places on the Irish squad for London, according to Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director.
“We have some really good athletes pushing each other for places, so it has been a challenge to select our squad, but we have picked the best team to compete at the first qualifier in London, he said.
“We would be looking for some good performances from our team. We have two opportunities to qualify, London and Paris, so we will review the squad post London.
“Preparations have gone well so far, and we head to Italy on Monday for a sparring camp which will then lead us into the qualifier.
“They’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point, so if they perform to the best of their ability in London, then that is all we can ask of them.”
Team Ireland leave for their final training camp in Assisi, Italy on Monday and return home at the end of the month before heading to London where 77 Olympic places – 50 for men and 27 for women – will be up for grabs in the eight weight classes for males and five for females.
📣 MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT 📣— IABA (@IABABOXING) February 13, 2020
Here are the 13 athletes who will be representing #TeamIreland in the European @Tokyo2020 Qualifier in March!
GO TEAM IRELAND! 🥊🇮🇪#IABA #RoadToTokyo2020 #TeamIreland #EuropeanOlympicQualifier pic.twitter.com/QH4cfiYfP0
The African, Asia/Oceania, Americas and European qualifiers will be decided next month and early April to complete the Continental qualification process.
There’ll be one final World qualifier for Tokyo 2020 in Paris in May.
Please see below attachment for the breakdown of places per weights at the qualifiers.
286 boxers – 186 men and 100 women – will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Courtesy of IABA
European Qualifiers for Tokyo 2020
Copperbox Arena London March 13/24
52kg – Flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s, Antrim)
57kg – Featherweight – Kurt Walker (Canal, Antrim)
63kg – Light-welterweight – George Bates (St Mary’s, Dublin)
69kg – Welterweight – Aidan Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)
75kg – Middleweight – Michael Nevin (Portlaoise, Laois)
81kg – Light-heavyweight – Emmett Brennan (Dublin Docklands)
91kg – Heavyweight – Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield, Dublin)
91+kg – Super-heavyweight – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel, Tipperary)
51kg – Flyweight- Ceire Smith (Cavan)
57kg – Featherweight – Michaela Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)
60kg – Lightweight – Kellie Harrington (St Mary’s, Dublin)
69kg – Welterweight – Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s, Cork)
75kg – Middleweight – Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea, Roscommon)