The Irish women’s squad are en route to China ahead of the 2012 AIBA World Women’s Championships..
The Irish women’s squad departed for China this morning (May 3rd) ahead of the opening bell for the 7th AIBA World Women’s Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Qinhuangdao.
Flyweight Ceire Smith, lightweight Katie Taylor and middleweight Sinead Kavanagh will represent Ireland at the tournament which will also act as the first ever Olympic qualifying event for female boxers.
The 2012 AIBA World Women’s Championships – which will also act as the only qualifier for female boxers for the London 2012 Olympics – will be contested across ten weight categories.
However, the 51kg (flyweight), 60kg (lightweight) and 75kg (middleweight) weight classes have a double significance as these are the three Olympic weight categories for women.
Taylor, who boxes out of the Bray BC in Co. Wicklow, will be targeting her 4th World title in-a-row in Qinhuangdao, and her second – she claimed gold at the 2008 AIBA World Women’s Championships in China – World title on-the-trot in China.
Taylor, and Smith, who boxes out of the Cavan BC, and Kavanagh (Drimnagh BC, Dublin), represented Ireland at the 2010 AIBA World Women’s Championships in Barbados.
Smith and Kavanagh bowed out at the preliminary round and last-16 stage in Barbados, while Taylor went all the way and secured her third World title in the Caribbean.
Taylor, who is also the current European lightweight champion, will be seeded number one in the 60kg class in Qinhuangdao.
The AIBA Seeding Commission will review all rankings and approve the seeding immediately after the general weigh-in and before the official draw on May 11. Boxing begins on May 12.
Taylor’s Bray BC team-mate Adam Nolan, Darren O’Neill, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes have already qualified for the London 2012 Games.
286 male and female boxers will compete at the 30th Olympiad across ten weight categories for men and three weight categories for women.
“Katie, Ceire and Sinead have prepared well and are eagerly looking forward to competing at the AIBA World Women’s Championships. Hopefully, we can get another few boxers over the line for the London Olympics. That’s what it’s all about, said Tommy Murphy, the President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.
“This will be an historic World Championships as it is the first ever Olympic qualifier for women’s boxing. It will obviously be very competitive, but Katie has consistently proven what she can do at this level and Ceire and Sinead have the experience of competing at this level.
“Women’s boxing is continuing to grow in popularity in Ireland. We are currently running the National Girls Championships at the National Stadium and almost 200 young boxers entered.
“Some of the finals of these Championships were held last weekend and we have another session of finals to be decided this weekend. The qualify of boxing and the sheer enthusiasm of our young boxers at this tournament augurs well for the future of the sport in this country.
“These young boxers see what Katie Taylor and the women’s senior squad are achieving in international competition and hopefully we will have more success at these World Championships and Olympic qualifiers and the popularity of women’s boxing in Ireland will continue to grow.”
The 2012 World Women’s Championships, the 7th edition since the first AIBA World Women’s Championships in USA in 2001, will bring the curtain down on the qualification process for the London 2012 Olympics.
The final Men’s African qualifiers conclude in Casablanca, Morocco on Sunday and the final Men’s American qualifiers are slated to be contested between May 4th and 13th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Female boxing will make its historic debut at the London 2012 Olympics over 100 years after male boxing became an Olympic sport a the 1904 Games in St Louis, USA.
Please see below attachment for tournament details for the 2012 AIBA World Women’s Championships.
7th AIBA World Women’s Championships and Olympic qualifiers, Qinhuangdao, China May 9th/20th
51kg (Flyweight) Ceire Smith (Cavan)
60kg (Lightweight) Katie Taylor (Bray)
75kg (Middleweight) Sinead Kavanagh (Drimnagh)
Team manager: Anna Moore
Coaches: Peter Taylor and Zuar Antia
Physio: Mary Louis Ryan