Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Young Ulster duo are championing the will to win

The old saying that 'where there's a will there's a way' has been underlined by two young Ulstermen who have shown great determination and skill in making a name for themselves in sport.

Martyn Irvine, who hails from Newtownards, is the first Irish cyclist in 117 years to win a gold medal in the World Track Championships, and tonight young Luke Wilton from east Belfast fights for the British and Commonwealth flyweight title against the defending champion Kevin Satchell in Liverpool. These two very different young men have much in common.

They have the will to contest in their sport to the highest levels, they believe in themselves and they also have family and friends who believe in them.

Martyn showed little or no promise at sport during his early years. His teacher and family members could see little trace of any active interest in sport, never mind becoming a world champion.

However, when Martyn joined his work colleagues on biking outings they all discovered that he had a hidden talent for cycling.

Within a short time Martyn, at 19, started racing at home and abroad. And he won his first event in Northern Ireland in 2005.

Now, some eight years later, he is a world champion, with a gold medal and a string of other successes on his record.

In the world of boxing, Luke Wilton and his dad Alan devoted time, effort and money to seek championship success, but the journey to tonight's title fight was not easy.

Alan reckons he spent around £50,000 to support his son and to impress on the boxing authorities that Luke had the talent to challenge for a title.

Despite a disappointing start to his professional career, Luke – and his dad – persisted in following their dream, and a title fight finally becomes a reality tonight.

In these days of so much grim news, it is refreshing to hear about young people who reach for the stars, and of the support from their family and friends.

With that attitude, win or lose, they are all champions.

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