HARD AT WORK Laura Moran is pictured training at her home in Aughagower under the watchful eye of her father and coach, Tom. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
THE prospect of a u-turn by Irish boxing authorities last night (Monday) means that Westport’s Laura Moran may yet get the opportunity to box at next month’s World Youth Championships in Spain.
The St Anne’s boxer and her family were devastated on Saturday afternoon when, during a training session in Dublin, they were told that the Irish Amateur Boxing Association were boycotting the championships because of the fact that Russia and Belarus were being allowed compete. Both nations are currently engaged in the war in Ukraine.
However, on Monday evening news emerged that the IABA were now intending to send boxers to the event after Spain banned both Russia and Belarus from competing on their soil. That left the Irish authorities with no basis for a boycott.
That announcement of the proposed boycott came a week after the IABA had said financial woes would only allow a limited number of boxers be sent to Alicante for the championships which begin on November 15.
On Monday morning when there seemed no possibility of Laura fighting on the world stage her father and coach, Tom, described to The Mayo News the mood in the house since Saturday.
“It has broken us to be honest,” Tom explained.
“Laura has put her life into this. She has done everything she could do. She’s won eight Irish titles and had a brilliant Europeans where she won silver. Then, they came along on Saturday in the middle of training in Dublin and told all the boxers Ireland was boycotting the Worlds. This is devastating and we feel completely helpless. Ann and I don’t know how to make it right for her,” he added.
The decision caused uproar across the Irish sporting community and politicians quickly weighed in. In Westport, Councillor Brendan Mulroy was immersed in the chaos as soon as the news broke.
“I got onto Jack Chambers (Minister for Sport) straight away and in fairness to him, he has been working hard to try and get to the bottom of it.
“It’s distressing to hear that the IABA told the boxers the week before that they were only going to send half a team to the World Championships, so when they came back and pulled the whole thing something didn’t sit right.
“We’ve got to sort this and sort it quick. Laura has brought great glory to Ireland, Mayo and Westport. She is a role-model for so many young people and to see her and her colleagues treated like this is disgraceful,” Mulroy added.
If Laura and the Irish team are going to box for world glory things have to be resolved very quickly. The last day for registering fighters for the World Championships is this coming Friday, so there’s very little time to waste.