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Zaur to Come – Antia Targets Improvements and More Olympians

Zaur Antia is confident Ireland can qualify more boxers for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The High Performance Head Coach lead five fighters to the amateur boxing promised land at the recent European Games in Poland.

Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh, Aoife O’Rourke, Dean Clancy and Jack Marley all secured tickets to the next Olympiad and will box for medals in France next year.

The aforementioned ensured Ireland qualified five of the 12 fighters that competed in the tournament which doubled up as an Olympic qualifier.

Antia admits the team had hoped that number would be higher and remains determined to increase it at the two remaining qualifiers next year.

Indeed, the highly respected coach is already eyeing up the improvements needed to improve Irish boxing’s representation at the Games.

“In our opinion, we should qualify more in this time,” said Antia.

“But this happens. We missed something, we need to improve some things. We have to think about how to improve, what we missed, how we missed.

“Everyone is united for one purpose. The improvement mindset is always very important for sustainable success for the future.

“We’re looking forward to next year, when there will be two more qualifiers.”

While Antia wants more, he is aware having five qualified a year out from Paris is a solid return. He believes that success was borne out of in a positive environment that values preparation, hard work and a desire to improve.

“We had great preparation, the competitions were very strong and we prepared as we competed. Fantastic preparations,” he said.

“Absolutely the plan was in place, a very, very positive environment, good coaches, everybody was looking for improvements only.

“We created an excellent environment and a positive atmosphere with our manager and our coaches. They are always looking for improvement.

“That’s why the result happened. All (the) boxers feel that all they have to think about is (their) performance. Performance first, everything else after. They had no time to have some negative thoughts.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years