Belfast to give Paddy a hero’s welcome home
Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets of north Belfast tonight to welcome home Olympic medalist Paddy Barnes.
The north Belfast boxer, who touched down in Dublin last night with the rest of the Irish team, made Ulster sporting history when he became the first Northern Irish boxer to bring home a medal since Wayne McCullough 16 years ago.
Immediately after his light-flyweight defeat, a bitterly disappointed Barnes said the bronze medal was for ‘losers’ and questioned the judging panel.
But last night he insisted he was happy with his win.
“Just after the fight I said a lot of things I shouldn't have said, but that was in the heat on the moment,” he said. “I regret saying it all, except for what I said about the judges.”
Barnes said Shiming won the bout fairly, but said not scoring one point was embarrassing.
“I wasn't disgusted at the result, just the score-line,” he continued.
“There's no doubt in my mind I lost the fight, but getting no points at all was a bit embarrassing when I did hit him.
“He (Shiming) won bronze in the last Olympics. He's was one of the best boxers I've ever fought in my life. He deserved to win.”
A special private reception will be held at the Holy Family Club at North Queen Street at 6.30pm where the new Olmypian will receive a hero’s welcome from his fellow club members, coaches and special dignitaries including Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Hartley.
Shortly afterwards, Paddy will be whisked on to an open top bus for a tour of the north of the city.
The bus will stop off at Paddy’s home for a street party.
The Irish boxer’s father, Paddy senior, told the Belfast Telegraph: “I am really am looking forward to it,” after he touched down at Dublin Airport last night.
“It will be wonderful but not just for Patrick and the boxing club, but for everyone else who has been involved.
“It will also be great for me to see all the boxing people and be able to thank them for all they have done. I am looking forward to it. It should be a good night, how could it not be?”