Olympic athletes encouraged to box clever

OLYMPIC boxing hopefuls from Down Under could be put through their paces in north Antrim prior to the 2012 games.

Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly and Stormont Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee member, has called on the Australian Olympic boxing squad to spend time in the constituency, training at some of the area’s “top quality boxing clubs”.

Mr Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Sports Spokesman warmly welcomed the news the Australian Olympic boxing team has announced it will use Belfast as its training base ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London and invited the visitors to make use of the top training facilities on offer locally.

“It is fantastic news that the Australian Olympic boxing team has announced its intention to make Belfast its training base for the 2012 games,” he said.

“Northern Ireland has a strong boxing tradition so it is particularly apt that we will be hosting the Australian team. 

“I am glad that the fantastic boxing training facilities we have in Northern Ireland are getting international recognition.

“Our constituency also has a terrific reputation for boxing and we have a number of excellent clubs and training opportunities.

“I invite the Australian team to visit some of our excellent boxing clubs in north Antrim and perhaps do some training there,” said Mr Swann, who also encouraged the team to take time out from its busy training schedule to visit some of North Antrim’s many famous tourist attractions.

Head coach of Scorpion Boxing Club in Ballymoney, Alan Martin, said he would be delighted to have competitors visit the popular club.

“We would open the doors to them absolutely,” he said.

“It would be excellent having them up training in Ballymoney and there’s no reason why they couldn’t.

“We have all the facilities up here in place. It would be great if something could be sorted.”