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Irish hopes are high for AIBA World Youth Championships in India
by Michael O'Neill
November 13, 2017

(NOV 13)  The 2017 AIBA Women’s World Youth Championships take place in Guwahati, India from 19-26 November with the vast majority of the competing nations now on their way to or already in India.

There is an eight strong Irish contingent leaving Dublin early Wednesday and they’ve been training for some weeks now both at the Two Castles Club in County Tyrone and in Dublin’s National Stadium.

AIBA has been responsible for the rapid development of Women’s Boxing since the first elite World Championships back in 2001, working to give women the opportunity to compete at the highest level and, more recently, for their inclusion in the Olympic programme for the first time at London 2012.

In that time, the sport has seen new legends written into its history, with the likes of Mary Kom, Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields providing inspiration for many of those heading to Guwahati with dreams of following in their idols’ footsteps. Indeed one of the Irish team Shannon Reilly was a club mate of the aforementioned Taylor at the Bray Boxing Club.

Dominic O’Rourke, President of the IABA, and Gerry Storey, Chairperson of the IABA Ladies Committee, spoke to the panel and wished all the best of luck in India.

“They’re (squad) getting stronger and stronger,” said Team Manager Anna Moore. “All they want to do now is get there and get into the ring. That’s what they trained for and they’re ready.”

Guwahati marks the first standalone World Women’s Youth Championships; all previous tournaments were held in conjunction with the World Women’s Junior Championships. In previous years, Ireland has done very well medal wise but in the writer’s view this year will see the highest standard the tournament has ever reached with such as Russia, China and the United States joining hosts India as the favourites to top the medals table.

Before leaving for India, we spoke with leading Irish coach Liam Brereton, and wondered how he saw this year’s Championships pan out.

“ You’re right – this WILL be the biggest, the best and the toughest to date but we are well prepared. We had a very productive camp in Co. Tyrone - big thanks to the Two Castles club in Newtownstewart. All the girls are in a very positive mood, We have a very balanced team. Some experienced girls for their age, five of the team are Youths again next year.

Caitlin Fryers 48kg was 2017 European Silver medallist, Shauna Blaney 51kg boxed as Junior in Worlds in Taiwan, so will know many of her opponents. At 57kg Labhaoise Clarke is a lovely stylish boxer, at 60kg Marguerite Nevin is a very strong young talent whilst Katelynn Phelan (64kg), a girl I feel is really coming to herself.

Bray BC’s Shannon Reilly (69kg) looks like ‘a star in the making’. Lauren Kelly (75kg), from my own club has improved a lot since the Europeans and 54kg Mary Geraghty could be ‘the surprise packet’ in the team. It’s a world championship nothing will be won easy, we are very confident the girls have been putting the long hard sessions in, it will all be about performance, that’s all as coaches we ask for. I firmly believe this team will do just that”

The 2017 AIBA World Women’s Youths will act as a qualifier for the 2018 Olympic Youths in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the fly, feather, light and middle classes.

Thirty eight nations have registered to compete in Guwahati which also marks the first time a World Championships has been held in India since New Delhi 2006 where Katie Taylor won her first World Elite gold.

Five time AIBA World Elite Champion Mary Kom, who with several of the Indian team attended the St.Brigid’s Edenderry International Sparring Camp earlier this year feels honoured to have been appointed as the AIBA Ambassador for the event and said:

“It is an honour to have been chosen as Ambassador for the 2017 Women’s Youth World Championships and be a part of the prestigious competition with it held in India for the first time. The standard of boxing these young women are producing has never been higher, and with gender equality a priority for AIBA and the IOC, there has never been more opportunities for women to take up the sport and compete on the biggest stage”

AIBA Youth Women’s World Boxing Championships Guwahati, India 19-26 November 2017

Irish Squad:

48kg Caitlin Fryers (Immaculata BC)
51kg Shauna Blaney (Navan)
54kg Mary Geraghty (Baldoyle)
57kg Labhaoise Clarke (Carndonagh)
60kg Marguerita Nevin (St.Brigid’s, Kildare)
63kg Katelynn Phelan (St.Brigid’s, Kildare)
69kg Shannon Reilly (Bray BC )
75kg Lauren Kelly (St.Brigid’s, Edenderry)

Team Manager: Anna Moore

Coaches: Jimmy Payne, Liam Brereton, Antia Just

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