Ireland will send a team to the World Championships, which are scheduled to glove off in Belgrade on October 26 , according to the latest whispers doing the rounds.
Grapevine talk has swayed between Ireland not sending a team to the prestigious tournament, to a small team of experienced fighters being selected to represent Ireland at the championships.
As a result, confusion has reigned and assumptions have been made, with no official confirmation forthcoming either way.
Many within the game – and seemingly in the know – were confirming a team won’t be sent as recently as Monday, but leaks on Tuesday confirmed a team would be selected after further assessments in Sheffield this week.
There are now strong suggestions recently crowned National Elite Championships are under further High-Performance evaluation in a sparring camp in England.
It now appears after the camp is finished the High-Performance selectors will confirm a selection to represent Ireland in Belgrade.
Neill Loughran of the Irish News is reporting as much and the rumour mill claims the situation has been somewhat salvaged.
It has to be noted that just days after the National Elite Champions were brought to Abbotstown to train they were informed no team will be sent to Belgrade, suggesting interested parties should wait for official confirmation before getting too excited.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Ireland’s participation at major tournaments at all levels has been varied. The restarted Olympic qualifier in Paris saw seven spots confirmed for Tokyo – where Kellie Harrington and Aidan Walsh went on to medal. Then there was also the European U22 Championships in Italy where Dean Clancy, Adam Hession, and Jack Marley medalled. However no teams were sent to the 2020 World Youths, the 2020 European Youths, the 2020 and 2021 European Juniors, or the 2021 European Schoolboys/Girls.
The Women’s World Championships are set for Istanbul later this year and their status within this discussion is also unclear.
The tournament in Belgrade will be the 21st edition of Worlds and Ireland have been represented at the Championships all but once – in 1978 no boxers were sent to the tournament which was, coincidentally, also in Belgrade.
Again it has to be stated there has been no confirmation either way regarding the Men’s World Championships and amidst all the strong ‘no team’ rumours, talk of a ‘small team’ has also been constantly floated.
The one thing that can be taken from the latest drama, without doubt, is that the divide within the organisation continually damages the sport and its image in particular.