Ireland's Golden Girl
The Olympics are now in full swing and this week has been one of the best so far for the Irish athletes. On Monday evening Katie Taylor secured a place in the semi-finals and guaranteed herself at least a bronze medal as she beat Great Britain’s Natasha Jones. Not content with the bronze she went on to beat Mavzuna Chorieva from Tajikistani on Wednesday to reach the lightweight Olympic final. And it was in this final against Russia’s Sofia Sofya Ochigava that Katie really showed why she is Ireland’s golden girl!
The final took place in the ExCel Arena in London on Thursday afternoon with the Irish fans making up most of the 10,000 strong audience. Back in Ireland, there were thousands gathered in Katie’s hometown of Bray to cheer her on while the others were packing pubs and restaurants across the country as Ireland pretty much came to a standstill at 4.45pm. It was a tough match for Katie and although she was the favourite to win there were moments in the fight where I wasn’t sure that she would. At the very end there was an unbearable wait to find out who had won but as the referee raised Katie’s hand the cheers from the fans were deafening as they realized she had just won a gold medal for Ireland.
The fans turned out again today to show support for the men as Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin both competed in semi-finals in their weight divisions. Although Paddy put up a good fight he eventually lost to Zou Shiming of China on countback but will not go home empty handed as he will be awarded a bronze medal. John Joe will still have a chance at gold as he defeated his opponent Lazaro Alvarez Estrada and will go on to fight in the final tomorrow. We’ll have another chance at the final tonight as Michael Conlon competes in the semi-final where he will face Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana.
Of course it wasn’t just in the boxing that Ireland won medals in this week as Cian O’Connor was awarded a bronze medal in the individual jumping event on Wednesday. Considering he wasn’t even supposed to be in the final and only got a call last minute it was a surprising but well deserved medal.
Hope you all have a great weekend now that the sun is finally shining and make sure to route for my home county Galway as they take on Cork in the All-Ireland Hurling semi-final on Sunday!