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Barnes and Conlan have mindset to bring back gold: Glasgow

By Steven Beacom

Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have been backed to truimph at the Rio Olympics by a man who has watched them grow as boxers both physically and mentally.

In his role as Head of Sports Medicine at the Sports Institute Northern Ireland, Dr Phil Glasgow sees Barnes and Conlan work at Ulster University on a regular basis and believes both have what it takes to strike gold in Rio.

"Out of the athletes who train at the Sports Institute, the most likely to win gold are Paddy and Michael," says Glasgow.

"Paddy already has two Olympic bronze medals, but this time I know he won't be happy if he gets another bronze. He is only after one colour and that is gold.

"Michael is now the World amateur champion and he will only be happy if he comes home as Olympic champion.

"The pair of them have grown so much over the years, as boxers and as men. Other sports stars at the Institute look up to them. There is pressure on them but they wear it well. They have a great mindset to go along with their great ability."

While Barnes and Conlan, who left for Brazil with the Irish boxing squad yesterday, will be favourites to make the podium, Glasgow is confident that some Northern Ireland sporting outsiders may spring a surprise in Rio.

"There are a lot of Ulster hockey players in both the GB and Ireland squads. I think both teams can do really well.

"And I'm really pleased to see middle distance runner Ciara Mageean going to Rio and running so well.

"Previously Ciara was at the Sports Institute. She has had a tough couple of years but she is such a talent and I think she could reach a final.

"Then there is someone like Aileen Reid, the triathlete, who consistently finishes in the top 10 on a global stage in what is a really tough event across three disciplines. I really hope she has a good Olympics and I know she has great determination going to Rio."

Glasgow added: "On one hand while I will be wearing the Team GB kit at the Olympics in my Chief Physiotherapy role and hoping all the athletes in the team do well, I'll also be cheering on the Northern Ireland sports stars competing for Ireland.

"In Beijing at the Olympics and Paralympics we maybe had eight athletes from Northern Ireland.

"For 2016 in Rio we will have over 30 which is great. That growth is fantastic.

"I've been involved in the Sports Institute from day one in 2002. Where we were at that stage in sport I felt was reasonably limited but now I look at what we have achieved and we have come a long way and we can still do better. We are in a reasonably healthy position but you could lose that in no time unless you keep working at it and investing in it. That's what we must do."

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