Ciara Ginty reflects on Olympic Youth silver medal win

By IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill 

For an athlete that didn’t start taking boxing seriously until she was 12-years old, Mayo lightweight Ciara Ginty has certainly had a major international impact.

The 16-year-old Geesala BC stand out recently claimed a silver medal at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in the 60kg class to add to the gold she secured at the 2013 AIBA World Women’s Junior Championships in Albena, Bulgaria.

That top of the podium finish in Bulgaria, courtesy of wins over opponents from China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Turkey, all by way of unanimous decisions, saw her invited to Kazakhstan to accept the AIBA World Junior Female Boxer of the Year Award from AIBA President Dr CK Wu.

The AIBA President said: “I have the immense pleasure to inform you that Ms Ciara Ginty has been selected as the “Best Junior Woman Boxer of the Year” after her outstanding performances at the AIBA World Junior Women Boxing Championships.”

Ginty also won bronze at the 2013 EU Championships. A pupil at Our Lady’s Secondary School in Belmullet, the only Irish female boxer beside Katie Taylor to secure AIBA gold has one eye on the 2020 Olympics.

Ciara Ginty Girl 15 57 KgShe said: “I think the Olympics in 2016 in Rio is too soon for me. My coach tells me I need to develop into a senior boxer both physically and psychologically, and, of course, we can’t forget the fact that Katie Taylor is still there. I think 2020 looks more achievable.”

Ginty first began boxing when she was 9-years-old. Initially, it was for fun and to stay fit, but seven years later she’s now one of the top Youth boxers in the world.

“I first attended boxing training about seven years ago when I was nine. At the beginning I just went for the craic and the exercise. I didn’t take it up seriously until I was twelve, as I was playing a lot of GAA with my local club Kiltane. Geesala boxing club has been my one and only club.

“I was sixteen when I boxed at the Youth Olympics and I turn seventeen at the end of November, not a great birthday for an underage boxer.

“My younger sister, who also boxes, has a great birthday. She was born in January. It’s true, I am the age to box Youth again next year.“

Likewise, she will be eligible for the 2015 AIBA World Women’s Youth Championships. She’d love to do a “Joe Ward”, who claimed AIBA World Junior and Youth gold in 2009 and 2010, next year.

“That achievement (by Joe Ward) is fantastic and it would be a great honour to be able to emulate his achievements, but a lot of things have to go right for that to happen. So, fingers crossed.I’ll definitely give it a go.

“I have been very fortunate to have been able to compete in so many big Championships and even luckier to have won medals at them. You train hard and hope you can do your best and it’s a great feeling to finish on the podium.

“I hold great pride in having the honour of representing my country, county and club. I think I have boxed in the Irish vest about fifteen times and I am kinda proud of that.

“China was a great experience for me. It was a long way from home, but the experience of mixing with other athletes from all over the world was just really special.”

Ginty was beaten in the 60kg final at the Youth Olympics last month by Jajaira Gonzalez of the USA over four, two minute rounds, a decider which the Connaught orthodox admitted was very testing.
2014 Youth Olympics Women’s 60kg final
2014 Youth Olympics Women’s 60kg final
Ginty’s appearance in the 60kg final ensured than Irish boxing has never failed to advance an athlete to the business end of the Youth Games, as Ryan Burnet won gold at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore.

“My performances in the ring (at Youth Olympics) improved with each contest. Perhaps I was a little ring rusty in the first contest due to a lack of sparring in the two weeks spent (in training camp) in Hong Kong prior to the Games.

“But as the tournament progressed I felt I got better. The final was really tough, I have been carrying a thumb injury since the World Championships and I hurt it again early in the first round, but no excuses, the American was the better boxer on the day and I give her full credit for her win. Hopefully, I will meet her again. It would be a great contest.”

Pat McDonagh, coach at the Geesala BC, is the defining influence on the AIBA World Junior Female Boxer of 2013.
Ciara Ginty (blue) in action
Ciara Ginty (blue) in action

“Pat has been my coach since I began. He has trained and influenced me from the start and it is because of his knowledge, coaching skills and encouragement I have achieved what I have. He has attended all of the major championships I have boxed in and because I know he’s there and can hear him shouting instructions during the bout it gives me great confidence.

“Before any major tournament Pat and I train three times a day six days a week, two or three weeks before I compete, added Ginty, who also plays soccer and basketball.

“My favourite boxer is the English boxer Luke Campbell, I love his style of boxing. My favourite sports star outside boxing is Aiden O’Shea, the Mayo senior footballer

“I am currently going into fifth year in Our Lady’s Secondary School in Belmullet. When I won the world’s they organised a welcome back day and really make a big fuss.”

At her current rate of progress, Our Lady’s Secondary School will surely have reason to make an even bigger fuss in the near future.

Donegal heavyweight Michael Gallagher won bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics, while Cork middleweight Christina Desmond finished in 4th spot. Stephen Connolly was Irish team manager at the 2nd edition of the Games and Billy McClean worked Ireland’s corner. Irish women’s boxing is proudly sponsored by Quick Park of Dublin of Airport.

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