Paddy Barnes see’s potential positives from ‘disheartening’ Olympic delay

Three time Olympian Paddy Barnes claims Team Ireland may find positives in the Olympic delay.

The current pandemic means Tokyo 2020 will now play out in the Summer of 2021 and the qualifying tournaments also look to be delayed until next year.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing in terms of Irish boxing according the two time Olympic bronze medal winner.

The Belfast fighter admits the delay would have been disheartening for all boxers involved, but claims it may prove a blessing in disguise.

Barnes, who won medals in Beijing and London, notes the majority populating the High Performance are very young and thus feels an extra years experience will help.

The IABA’s Club Develop Officer for Ulster also believes the delay may allow those not picked for March’s postponed Olympic qualifier time to impress their way into Bernard Dunne and co’s thinking.

“Obviously it is very, very disheartening because you wait every four years for the biggest tournament and then it is pushed back a year. I’m sure they are all gutted,” Barnes told the BBC recently.

“The likes of Brendan Irvine had already qualified and I’m sure he was worried whether that would stand, but thankfully it has.

“It never happened to me, obviously, but with the qualifier tournament postponed it could give our boxers the chance to step back, refocus and train towards the tournament.

“One thing I would say is that the Irish boxing team is very young. In another year they will be more mature and stronger, so there could be positives for the team from the delay.”

Barnes retired having lost to Jay Harris in November. He has been kept busy since with a ‘real’ job as well as his own podcast, Paddycast – and as a result remains unsure as to whether he misses boxing or not.

People ask me if I miss it and I don’t know yet, because it feels to me like I retired very recently,” he explained when asked about life after retiring as a boxer.

“I really am enjoying never having to make weight again. I think I would probably miss boxing more if I felt I had more to give, but in my training camp for my last fight I knew my body was slowing down.

“I no longer had what it takes for the top level. It was an easy decision for me to make because you have people in sport who continue beyond their best years and end up ruining their legacy.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]