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Rio Olympics: Shocked Katie Taylor vows to fight on after defeat

By Sean McGoldrick

Published 16/08/2016

Disbelief: Katie Taylor is stunned after losing her lightweight quarter-final on a split decision to Mira Potkonen in Rio yesterday
Disbelief: Katie Taylor is stunned after losing her lightweight quarter-final on a split decision to Mira Potkonen in Rio yesterday

Stunned Katie Taylor vowed to continue boxing despite her shock loss to 35-year-old mother-of-two Mira Potkonen in the women's Olympic quarter-final yesterday.

"I'm not finished yet, that's for sure," declared an emotional Taylor, moments after surrendering her lightweight title in controversial circumstances.

With one judge favouring Taylor and another voting for Potkonen, the Bray woman's fate was effectively sealed by 56-year-old Ecuadorian official Clemente Carrillo when he sided with the Finn after scoring the fight level.

A below-par performance from Taylor, particularly in the opening two rounds, left enough doubt in two of the judges' minds to enable them to side with Potkonen who, like Taylor, won a bronze medal at the World championships two months ago.

A dignified Taylor was close to tears when she reflected on the most significant defeat in a distinguished career in which she has captured 18 championship gold medals.

Taylor said: “I’m just so humbled by the prayers said for me during the week. I don’t think I would have been in this position, going into my second Olympic Games, if it wasn’t for that support. If it wasn’t for my incredible family, my church family...

“I’m just sorry I couldn’t come home with a second Olympic gold medal.”

After 12 days of unrelenting hammer blows — including Michael O’Reilly’s failed drugs test and Paddy Barnes’ shock early exit — this was the biggest setback of all to the Irish boxing squad in Rio.

But Taylor’s form has dipped considerably since her long-term coach and father Pete departed her corner late last year. Since then she has suffered high-profile losses in the final of an Olympic qualifier, the semi-final of the World championships and now the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are preparing for another crucial day of racing today after finishing seventh overall in Rio yesterday.

The pair, who are competing for Team Ireland in the Men’s 49er sailing, secured a 13th, seventh and 13th in the races to retain an outside chance of a medal.

Seaton, from Carrickfergus, and Bangor’s McGovern compete in the last three of their 12 races today, with the final medal races scheduled for Thursday.

The duo finished 14th at the London Olympics four years ago and started in superb fashion at the weekend, momentarily moving into second spot on Saturday. However, they have gradually slid down the standings.

New Zealand’s pre-event favourites, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, look set to secure the gold medal, but the silver and bronze remain up for grabs.

Seaton and McGovern’s Irish team-mate Annalise Murphy faces an anxious wait to see whether she will win a medal.

The Dubliner was due to take part in the medal race yesterday evening but after initial delays due to unsuitable weather conditions, the race was eventually postponed at 8.15pm.

The initial delay was due to a lack of wind, which also caused the men’s Laser class medal race to be postponed.

The dilemma she now faces is that the race cannot be rescheduled again and if it is postponed she will claim third place in the Laser Radial class and the bronze medal.

Belfast Telegraph

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