Belfast Telegraph

We're going for gold not holiday: Walsh siblings


Family matters: Gold Coast-bound brother and sister Aidan and Michaela Walsh, with Monkstown ABC coach Paul Johnston
Family matters: Gold Coast-bound brother and sister Aidan and Michaela Walsh, with Monkstown ABC coach Paul Johnston
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Brother and sister Aidan and Michaela Walsh have been dreaming of making history at the Commonwealth Games for four years and are now on the cusp of making it a reality.

Four years ago Michaela walked away with a silver medal having been narrowly beaten by Olympic champion Nicola Adams in Glasgow. The 24-year-old seeks to go one better, while Aidan enters his first games believing it could be a golden family double Down Under.

Aidan, a Commonwealth Youth Games junior gold medallist, has been training - alongside fellow Monkstown ABC boxer Michaela - with the rest of the Northern Ireland boxing squad over the past three months and believes they are primed to make a major impact in Australia.

"Everyone has been pushing each other very hard and I believe that we're all capable of getting medals," said Aidan.

"Michaela and I have talked about what it would be like to leave the Gold Coast with two gold medals. It would mean so much to us and our family.

"We're going to the Games with the same attitude - we're not going for a holiday, we're going there to win gold.

"Michaela has boxed at the elite level longer than I have, she was in Glasgow four years ago so she has been able to give me great advice about what to expect and how to deal with the whole Village experience because obviously that is going to be a new experience for me.

"Whatever it takes to win a gold medal I'm going to do it. If that means just training and heading back to my room every day then that's what I'll do."

The Northern Ireland team has a blend of youth and experience, with Walsh joined by fellow Commonwealth junior gold medallist James McGivern - who has a real shot at a medal - while many will be expecting to see Sean McComb, Kurt Walker, Steven Donnelly and Brendan Irvine on the podium.

Welterweight Aidan added: "Steven Donnelly and Brendan Irvine have won medals at major championships so they know what to expect. Both of those guys have been to the Olympics, so they have been able to give me and some of the other guys great advice.

"In this camp I've also had the chance to spar with Sean and Steven and to have that kind of elite work heading into the Games has just been brilliant. I couldn't ask for anything better.

"The preparation we've had with head coach John Conlan and Pete Brady has been great. I've never worked as hard in my life, there has been a great vibe in camp and we're all ready to go."

While Michaela is aiming to be to the fore once again, Northern Ireland's women's captain Alanna Nihell has similar ambitions along with fellow Belfast boxers Kristina O'Hara and Carly McNaul.

Nihell, a bronze medallist four years ago, said: "I feel in great shape and I believe I'm a better boxer than four years ago. I've improved in my diet and overall preparation so I feel very confident. We've had a great camp, everyone has been feeding off each other so we're all feeling positive about doing well."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph