Much has been written about Irish boxing over the last three weeks , not all of it complimentary, despite the previously great record of the boxers in what has traditionally been the sport that delivers most Olympic medals for Ireland.
In OUR view as we have said before – and will repeat again in the weeks/months ahead, no blame attaches to the remaining seven boxers (following the withdrawal of Michael O’Reilly, not to the athletes and coaches themselves nor indeed to their clubs back home. The fault lies with the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) in Dublin, its Board of Directors and the IABA LTD. The role of the Olympic Council of Ireland will also be revealed – why for example did Irish boxing team Manager Joe Hennigan not speak up instead of allowing Antia, Conlan and Bolger take the flak, especially since they were unaware of the failed test? Did the OCI ‘instruct’ Hennigan to remain silent as some sources said ordid he simply avoid the media of his own choice?
Of course some of the decisions that went against the Irish boxers (others too) were ‘unbelievable’ and of course the world body AIBA clearly saw where the real problems (in Rio) lay and thus their Executive Director Karim Bouzidi was ‘dismissed’ from his role and the ‘Magnificent Seven’ 5 Stat judges sent home.
So what we wonder does Irish Head Coach Zaur Antia have to say about the teams own performances. Today he commented:
” Nobody works harder than we do and nobody is more disappointed than we are at coming home with no medals.We set very high standards for ourselves as we demand very high standards from our boxers, our coaches and support staff. These are the standards that have delivered Olympic, World and European medals.There are many factors behind our performances at these games. Some have been well documented and others we will identify in our debrief and analysis that will be very thorough.Lots of people have lots of opinions and they have voiced these. They are entitled to their opinions but in high performance sport it’s facts that matter and not opinions. When we have all the facts I will be happy to share these with you but I will be sticking with facts and I shall leave opinions to those who don’t live and work everyday in a high performance environment ! ”