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Olympic Diary: Boxer Aidan Walsh closes in on medal as swimmer Daniel Wiffen breaks Irish record

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Aidan Walsh (left) and Daniel Wiffen (right) both impressed on Tuesday at the Olympics. Pics: Inpho

Aidan Walsh (left) and Daniel Wiffen (right) both impressed on Tuesday at the Olympics. Pics: Inpho

Aidan Walsh of Ireland exchanges punches with Albert Mengue Ayissi of Cameroon during the Men's Welter (63-69kg) on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Aidan Walsh of Ireland exchanges punches with Albert Mengue Ayissi of Cameroon during the Men's Welter (63-69kg) on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

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Aidan Walsh (left) and Daniel Wiffen (right) both impressed on Tuesday at the Olympics. Pics: Inpho

Aidan Walsh has injected life into the Olympic campaigns of Northern Irish competitors with a win in his last 16 clash.

There are also hockey players and two swimmers from NI in action as Daniel Wiffen timed a personal best.

Here’s everything you need to know about the day’s events:

Boxing: Aidan Walsh boosts medal hopes with masterclass

Belfast welterweight Aidan Walsh is within touching distance of an Olympic medal after breezing into the quarter-finals for Team Ireland in Tokyo with a unanimous points win over Albert Mengue from Cameroon.

On his Olympic debut, the 23-year old produced a masterclass of a tactical performance which completely frustrated his opponent who was docked points in the first and rounds for illegal punches by the referee.

But even without his intervention Walsh, a younger brother of Michaela who exited the tournament yesterday, would still have comfortably won the contest.

At Olympic level the luck of the draw can have a huge influence. Walsh was the only Irish boxer to get the rub of the green. Even though he wasn’t a seeded fighter he got a bye into the last sixteen and now he looks set to take full advantage of it.

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Cheered on by Michaela and his other Irish team mates, Walsh won the first round on all but one of the five judges’ scorecards – but when the deducted point was taken into account Walsh was already in control.

The second round followed a similar pattern. The Cameroon fighter poured forward at every opportunity but Walsh proved an elusive target and repeatedly caught him on the counter.

Once he avoided a knock-out in the final round Walsh knew he was in the last eight. The Cameroon fighter did enjoy a bit more success in the closing stanza as he tried to land the big punches he needed but he undid all his good work by losing a point for ignoring the referee’s warning about hitting on the back of Walsh’s head.

Once the scores were counted, Walsh was awarded the fight 30-25, 30-25, 29-26, 28-27 and 30-25.

And just for good measure, the number four seeded boxer, Zeyad Ishaish from Jordan was beaten on a split decision by Merven Clair from Mauritius who now stands between Walsh and an Olympic bronze medal. The quarter-final takes place on Friday at 4.51am BST.

“It is always good to win. You always come here to win,” Walsh said afterwards.

“When you get a win it is incredible, But it is now on the next one. I think he was deducted a point in the first round for hitting on the back of the head. But I was taking each moment as it comes and listening to the instructions.

“It was one of those fights no matter whether you are up or down you cannot rest on your laurels. You just have to stay focussed and always stay composed.”

Swimming: Daniel Wiffen breaks Irish record but misses out on final spot

Daniel Wiffen swam an Irish record time as he upset the odds to finish first in his Men’s 800m Freestyle heat.

The Magheralin star came up with a stunning performance to win his heat in a time of 7:51.65.

That still wasn’t enough to become only the third Team Ireland swimmer ever to qualify for an Olympic final, though, as he ranked 14th overall, six places and just under four seconds outside the eight final berths.

Wiffen’s previous PB was 7:52.68, achieved earlier this year. He follows hot on the heels of Mona McSharry, who reached the final of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke earlier this week.

It hadn’t even been an ideal start for 20-year-old Wiffen, in seventh place for the first 200m but then he began to race through the field, timing his charge to perfection to edge past Egypt’s Marwan Aly Elkamash in the final 50m.

Wiffen will be back in the water in the Me n’s 1500m Freestyle heats on Friday at 11.48am BST.

Jack McMillan had been first up on the day with his Ireland team-mates Shane Ryan, Brendan Hyland and Finn McGeever is the Men’s 4 x 200m. Always up against it, entering with the second slowest entry time, they at least made ground, ahead of Poland and the disqualified Hungary but ultimately were almost eight seconds off making it through to the final.

Hockey: Cookstown duo suffer heavy defeat with Team GB

There are four more competitors from Northern Ireland in action on Tuesday, with Cookstown hockey duo David Ames and Ian Sloan both starting Team GB’s 5-1 defeat at the hands of Germany.

Phil Roper opened the scoring for GB, but Germany dominated the Pool B encounter as Florian Fuchs scored a hat-trick.

Britain began their campaign with two victories, and must now regroup ahead of tackling world number three side the Netherlands on Thursday at 4.15am. With four of the six teams in Pool B progressing to the quarter-finals, the result is not a huge dent in their medal hopes.

Captain Adam Dixon said: "We've got to pick ourselves up now because we have got two big games against the Dutch and the Belgians.

"We are kicking ourselves after that result today, but we have got to turn it around in 48 hours' time.

"I still feel we had control of parts of that game, and if we had been a bit sharper, winning more corners and getting more shots on target, the scoreline would have been different."


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