06 August 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Ireland boxing team coach Billy Walsh has lashed out at media reports that a decision was taken to stop travelling to the Olympic gym in Beijing because the facilities were viewed as substandard.
A story surfaced on Wednesday suggesting that the Irish contingent did not deem the lengthy journey to the Ditan gym worthwhile given what was on offer.
However, Walsh has hit back in no uncertain terms, claiming that they simply do not need to make the trip at his stage of their preparations.
Its the biggest load of horse-s**t Ive ever heard, he is quoted as saying in The Irish Sun.
The gym is a bit of a hike but its the same for everyone and were just doing fine-tuning now.
We just decided amongst ourselves to do the finishing part in the hotel, in the lobby, in the corridors, wherever.
What we need now we can do here. Were just not bothering to travel there. Its nothing to do with it not being good enough, it just doesnt suit us.
Its about making the weight and fine-tuning now.
High Performance Director Gary Keegan supported Walshs claim that the journey would have put an unnecessary strain on their five medal hopefuls Ken Egan, Darren Sutherland, John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and John Joe Joyce.
It was taking 30 to 40 minutes travel time to and back from the gym and we decided that we dont really need that a few days before the Olympics starts,” he explained.
Basically, the lads would have been sitting on a bus of over an hour and we made the decision amongst ourselves that we would train in the Olympic village.
We are down to one session a day now and weight management is the important thing. The squad must not get distracted and have to remain focused.
The draw for each class in the boxing tournament will be made on Friday morning.