Team NI Coach addresses Kane Tucker’s Surprise Commonwealth Games Omission
Team NI coach Damien Kennedy has backed Kane Tucker to be an international boxer while attempting to explain his omission from the NI Squad to compete at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.
A strong 13 person team was officially announced last week after all appeals were dealt with. As is the case with any international selection there were some grumblings and objections at nigh on each weight.
That’s par for the course and the method behind why one fighter was selected over another can be explained.
However, there appeared no explanation forthcoming to lower the eyebrows raised when Kane Tucker’s name didn’t appear on the list of fighters selection.
The Newry fighter, a perennial Irish underage champion, Senior international, Commonwealth Youth silver medal winner and European Schoolboys bronze medalist, has long since been backed to use this tournament as his breakout one.
In some quarters he was deemed a genuine medal hope never mind a selection cert and as a result it shocked some to see he wasn’t selected alongside brother Jake, particularly as no one else was picked at the weight.
The decision ‘absolutely stunned’ Tucker’s club coach Harry Hawkins but Kennedy shared an explanation.
“Unfortunately for Kane, he arrived here with a fresh injury in his hand, and stitches in it, and wasn’t able to really get involved in the assessment process.
“And then there was conflicting stories of how soon he would be back – somebody was saying one to three weeks, somebody was saying eight to 10 weeks. Part of the assessment criteria was to come here injury-free.
“Look, Kane’s an exciting talent, unfortunately this time it just didn’t work out for him, but I’ve no doubt in my mind that Kane Tucker will be back at international level very soon.
“Our focus now is on the team, and getting the team in the best place possible to go to these Games.”
Talking about the team that was selected Kennedy backed them to surprise a few people.
Although it’s a mixture of youth and experience, this team has the potential to shock. I really do believe that.
“A number of them have really performed in a world class sparring camp in Assisi… it blew me away. I really believe in their ability, each and every one of them.”