12 April 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Ireland trio Ken Egan, Darren Sutherland and John Joe Joyce may have secured places in the Olympics with their respective semi-final wins in Athens on Friday but they will be going all out for gold on Saturday, according to team captain Egan.
In the final qualifying tournament for Europeans for this summers Games, Egan progressed to the final of the light-heavyweight division with a commanding 21-11 victory over German Gottlieb Weiss.
Sutherland qualified for the middleweight decider after seeing his opponent, Victor Cotiujanschii of Modova, retire after three rounds, while Joyce, of St Michaels Athy, cruised through to the light-welterweight final, defeating another German in Sipahi Harun 27-12 in a one-sided bout.
However, while some may view it as job done, as far as qualification is concerned, Egan insists that the fighters themselves are taking a very different view of it.
“We’re going for gold, have no doubt about it,” the Dubliner declared. Qualifying for the Olympics was the objective and now that we have achieved that, we all want to win our finals.
With Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin already having qualified for Beijing, Fridays victories mean that Ireland will now have five fighters in the Games, the countrys largest representation since 1992.
Joyce, 20, was in no doubt as to where the credit lay for that tremendous achievement.
Wed like to dedicate our victories to the entire High Performance team and the Irish Sports Council, who have been so good to us, he declared.
And Sutherland added: The High Performance is going from strength to strength five qualifiers and at the last two Olympic Games we had just one.
However, the man behind the IABAs high performance unit, Gary Keegan, felt that it was the fighters themselves who deserved all the plaudits.
“Ken, Darren and John Joe were absolutely magnificent here today (Friday), he enthused.
They have all had very tough bouts this week but the still managed to produce outstanding performances against very tough opponents. We are very proud of these achievements.