Belfast Telegraph

Higgins: Katie's gold lifts spirits

Olympic champion boxer Katie Taylor has lifted the spirits of a nation with her gold medal success, President Michael D Higgins has said.

As the lightweight's emotional victory resounded around the world, the President sent his personal congratulations for a deserved victory.

"Katie Taylor has lifted the spirit of the nation with her magnificent gold medal-winning performance at the London Olympics," he said.

"I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Katie, who has represented this country with such courage, skill and pride over many years. She truly deserves this historic and hard-earned victory; it is a just reward for her dedication and commitment over the years.

"This is a wonderful day for Katie and her family and friends, who have supported her over the years - and all Irish people, wherever they are, will enjoy and share in this heart-warming occasion."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also praised the Bray native who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of Olympic gold and was key to female boxers being accepted at London 2012.

"Katie Taylor is not only an Olympic champion, she is a force of nature whose pioneering spirit and boxing brilliance have seen her realise her personal dream of winning Olympic gold," Mr Kenny said.

"In doing so she has set an exceptional standard and there is no doubt that she is a role model that many will follow. She has won the hearts and minds of the Irish people who admire her greatly and love her to bits."

And the Taoiseach backed the assessment of Taylor's friends, family and neighbours, and paid tribute to coach and father Peter and mother Bridget. "Amidst it all Katie's warmth and humility shine through," he said. "Her parents have been her guiding light but the exceptional relationship between Peter and Katie, her coach and father, has had a powerful impact on her career."

The Taoiseach said Team Ireland has done the country proud with Taylor's gold, a bronze in the bag from showjumper Cian O'Connor and three boxers, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and John Joe Nevin, guaranteed bronze but still in the mix to go one better.

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