Tributes as boxer makes Olympics
Sports Minister Michael Ring and the coach and father of boxer Katie Taylor have led tributes after she secured her place in the London Olympics.
In an emotional interview after the announcement was made, the 25-year-old fighter, who is competing in China for the world title, said it was a dream come true. And Taylor immediately set her sights on turning up in London with her fourth championship crown.
"It's a dream come true really, I just can't believe it really. I think the whole country has been praying for me," she said. "It's just years and years of hard work really to get here, now I'm going to be an Olympian."
Taylor secured qualification at the AIBA Women's World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China, following a walkover after her Romanian quarter-final opponent, Mihaela Lacatus, was unable to box with an injured neck.
Her father and coach Peter Taylor spoke to RTE Radio in the moments after the decision was announced.
"We're delighted. It's been a long time coming. This has always been a dream for Katie to represent her country in the Olympic Games," he said. "It would have been a bit unjust if she hadn't got there."
Mr Ring said: "I am personally delighted to hear that Katie Taylor will be representing Ireland and that she has achieved her dream of competing in the Olympic Games.
"Katie is a worthy competitor and is currently No 1 in the world. She will also take part in the semi-finals of the World Women's Championships this Friday and I wish her the best of luck as she competes for a fourth world title."
Taylor will face Tajikistan's Mavzuna Chorieva in Friday's world championship semi-final in China at 8am in the 60kg lightweight division. Women's boxing will make its debut at the London Games in three weight categories - flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.
Mr Ring also offered congratulations to all the other Irish athletes who have booked places in London 2012, including other boxers such as bronze medal holder Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin, Adam Nolan and Darren O'Neill.