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Shields Headlines the 2012 National PAL Championships in Ohio
by Julie Goldsticker
October 5, 2012
Photo: Sue TL Fox
     
   
   
   
   

(OCT 5) The National PAL Championships are returning to Toledo for the second straight year as the Seagate Centre hosts the major national tournament, October 8-13. 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) is returning to the first stop on her Olympic journey just two months after her historic victory in London. The 17-year-old will aim to defend her 2011 National PAL title in Toledo, boxing in her first competition following her gold medal performance at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Boxers, coaches and officials from all over the United States will travel to Toledo this weekend with boxing beginning on Monday following Sunday’s tournament draw. The National PAL Championships boasts four age groups in both male and female action with boxers of all ages competing for a national title at the annual event. The age groups being contested at the 2012 National PAL Championships are: 11-12 years-old, 13-14-years-old, 15-16-years-old and the open division, which ranges from 17 to 34.

Tournament action will begin nightly at 6 p.m. at the Seagate Centre with afternoon sessions taking place as needed. As athletes are able to register for the National PAL Championships through Sunday, the full list of athletes competing in the event will not be available until the tournament draw on Sunday evening, but several top athletes are expected to join Shields at the event.

For those unable to make it to Toledo, the full week of competition will be shown via live stream for a cost of $19.99. To purchase and view the tournament, go to usaboxing.org and click on watch live.

The National PAL Championships continuously showcase future stars of the sport and Olympians, with several potential 2016 team members possibly competing in both the junior and open divisions. As the National PAL Championships generally serve as an Olympic Trials qualifier in pre-Games years, it is a key component in the selecting an Olympic Team.

Shields earned her berth in the first-ever Olympic Team Trials for Women through her victory at the 2011 National PAL Championships. Due to her age, the tournament was the only qualifying event she was old enough to compete in and the teenage sensation took full advantage of her opportunity, going on to win the Olympic Trials and middleweight gold in London.

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