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Emotional Brendan Irvine targets Rio medal

By David Kelly

Published 18/04/2016

Rio bound: Brendan Irvine has qualified for the Olympics
Rio bound: Brendan Irvine has qualified for the Olympics

Swashbuckling teenager Brendan Irvine says he now has his sights set on medal glory after qualifying for this summer's Rio Olympics.

"It's unbelievable, I'm stuck for words to say just how much this means for me and my family. It is just incredible to be going to the Olynpics, the biggest sporting event in the world," said Irvine.

"Now I'm going, I'm determined to bring back a medal. I'll have a week off and then get back into training to work to improve even more so I'm coming back on the plane with a medal."

The 19-year-old, one of the youngest Irish boxers to have ever qualified for the Games, dug deep in his third-place box-off with Bulgarian Daniel Asenov at the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey to secure his place in the flyweight division in Brazil.

Irvine had missed out on qualification when losing on points in the semi-finals to rugged Armenian Narek Abgaryan, and lost the opening round in the box-off, but found the resolve to edge the next two rounds and join fellow Antrim boxers Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Steven Donnelly on the plane to the Games.

"It's great to be going with Michael, Paddy and Steven and it just shows how strong Ulster and Antrim boxing is at the moment when there are four guys going to the Olympics," added Irvine, who admitted he was nervous before his semi-final bout.

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Athy man David Oliver Joyce made it to the Games for the first time after defeating Turkey's Volkan Gokcek on a split decision in their box-off.

Belfast Telegraph

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