She is the reigning Ulster and National Senior Champion with a reputation as the stand out light flyweight in Ireland, yet still Kristina O’Hara was surprised to hear she would be heading to the Gold Coast to represent Northern Ireland in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
In fact, a fighter that recently went as far as the quarter-finals of the EU Championship in Italy, losing only to a dubious decision to an Italian, was “shocked” to be informed she would be heading Down Under.
O’Hara has been craving recognition for her talent over the last number of years and she explained to Irish-Boxing.com how she felt somewhat left out of late.
“I’m over the moon. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Recognition,” O’Hara told Irish-boxing.com.
“I wasn’t confident I was going to be picked because the last few years I’ve been kept on the sidelines for some reason. It was a shock for me.”
“They sent an email a few weeks ago stating we were nominated for the Gold Coast and the team would be announced on the 3rd of January.”
Regardless of her feelings of what has happened in the past, O’Hara is now looking forward and is targeting Commonwealth gold.
The St John Bosco fighter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former club mate Mick Conlan and indeed her in-laws.
“The goal is without a doubt to win a gold medal. My husband’s uncle Gerry Hammil won a gold medal in 1978 and St John Bosco had also a gold medal winner at the last Games. So I’m hoping to follow in the footsteps.
“I had a good look at all the girls at the Europeans and I’m confident I can beat whoever is in front of me. I think most people would agree I had a raw decision against the Italian who went on to win silver.”
“So I’m confident that the 48kg Commonwealth gold medal is mine for the taking.”
There are those in recent times who have used Commonwealth success as a platform to turn pro with some fanfare, but O’Hara has Olympic dreams and will remain in the amateur ranks up and until 2020 at least – where she would have to step up in weight to 51kg.
O’Hara outlined how “the main goal is to make Tokyo and follow in the footsteps of my father-in-law Sean [McCafferty] a 1964 Tokyo Olympian, also in the flyweight division.”
“I keep being told by a lot of people I would make a great professional boxer, but I would really like to win a gold medal for my country at the Olympics.”