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Zaur Antia heralds ‘wonderful’ Olympic qualifier team

High Performance Head Coach, Zaur Antia is confident he has picked a ‘wonderful’ team for the first of two Olympic qualifiers.

An eight-strong team travelled to Busto Arsizio, Italy earlier on Thursday and will box for passage to Paris 2024 over between March 3 and March 11.

Reigning lightweight champion Kellie Harrington, Tokyo Olympians Aoife O’Rourke and Michaela Walsh, as well as Jack Marley and Dean Clancy are already qualified for Paris 2024 and Antia is confident more will join them over the coming week.

“This is a wonderful team,” he said. “Their preparations have been excellent, and they are very focused. It is a great honour, and a remarkable achievement, to box for Ireland at this level, in the hope of becoming an Olympian.

“I congratulate each and every one of the boxers, and their clubs, club coaches and families.”

High Performance Director, Tricia Heberle, says the eight chosen to represent Ireland have more than earned their selection and revealed Ireland are well on course to reach their qualification target.

“After a testing 6-month evaluation process these 8 athletes have thoroughly earned selection for the first World Olympic Qualifying tournament. Their commitment to training and self-improvement has been strongly led by Head Coach Zauri Antia and ably supported by Damian Kennedy. The contribution of Club coaches also needs to be recognized, as does the vital role that coaches from the Paris Pool Coach programme have played. Without these coaches working cooperatively for the betterment of their athletes, we would not feel as well-prepared heading into such an important Olympic qualifier event.

“We have set a target of 8 qualifications for the Paris Olympic Games and with 5 of these already achieved at the 2023 European Games, we are on-track and may well qualify a bigger team. It is not an easy task but key to achieving this is the world-class daily training environment at the Sport Ireland Institute that we are so fortunate to have. The IABA High Performance Unit is the envy of many countries and without the continued support of Sport Ireland and the Institute if would be difficult to prepare the athletes to the level required for international success.”

Four quota places are available in each weight the IABA contests – Women’s 50kg, 54kg, and 66kg, and Men’s 51kg, 57kg, 71kg, 80kg and 92+kg – meaning a quarterfinals win and a semi-final berth will ensure a place on the plan to Paris.

A second World Olympic Boxing Qualifier will take place in Thailand’s capital to Bangkok between May 23 and June 3.

A total of 248 boxers will compete in boxing at Paris 2024, with 124 women and 124 men taking part. France, as host nation, have secured six automatic quotas for the Games – three for men and three for women, while there will also be nine Universality Places awarded, with five for women and four for men.


50kg Daina Moorehouse, Enniskerry BC, Wicklow

54kg Jennifer Lehane, DCU Boxing Club, Dublin

66kg Grainne Walsh, St. Mary’s BC, Tallaght, Dublin

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

57kg Jude Gallagher, Two Castles ABC, Tyrone

71kg Aidan Walsh, Holy Family GG BC, Belfast

80kg Kelyn Cassidy, Saviours Crystal, Waterford

92+kg Martin McDonagh, Crumlin BC, Dublin


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years