Kristina McCafferty feels she at the very least deserves the opportunity to show she is Olympic qualifier worthy.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games silver medallist is back after a suspension -she contest and plans to take legal action regarding – handed down by the Ulster Council has been lifted and is now determined to forge a path to Tokyo.
The-24-year-old thought her chance had passed, but the delaying of the Games by a year now gives her an opportunity to live the Olympic dream.
“The Olympics has always been the dream,” said the St John Bosco fighter, who is married to coach Gerard McCafferty, when speaking to the Irish News.
“My father-in-law, Seanie McCafferty, went to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, also at 51kg, and it was my ambition to follow in his footsteps. Now, nearly four months after giving birth to my wee boy Kiefer, I’m feeling healthy and ready to go again.
“The current situation with the virus is a challenge, but I’m still able to do runs, do circuits… I’m slowly but surely ticking over. In a boxing sense, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise because the door is still open.
“I feel I deserve the chance to show what I can do, especially with nobody qualified at 51. Whether I get that or not, I don’t know.”
Carly McNaul attempted to qualify for Tokyo in London in early March, but excited the European Qualifiers before they were cancelled.
That defeat to England’s Charley-Sian Davison means Ireland’s only hope of getting a female fly to the next Olympics will come in World qualifiers, which where meant to be playing out in Paris this month.
Reigning National Elite champion, Ceire Smith is in pole position to secure a spot on the team to be sent to those qualifiers – the Cavan fighter missed the London tournament through injury.
However, McCafferty is hopeful she can prove herself Ireland’s #1 flyweight.
“Ceire Smith was my first defeat in Ireland – I fought at 51 for a year when I moved to senior but it just wasn’t right for me then. Obviously she’s older than me, has her fair share of experience too, and she just had that edge over me then,” she adds.
“But at that time I wasn’t taking boxing seriously, I was doing things half-assed – I just wasn’t as dedicated, but that has come with age and experience. You find yourself wanting it more.
“If there is a seniors this year and I was able to go down there and win them, they couldn’t ignore me.”