The British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed today the first five boxers who have been selected for Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The boxers punched their tickets for Team GB by virtue of their placement at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships, held 22 September – 10 October in Baku, Azerbaijan. As the first major qualifying event for the London 2012 Olympic Games, boxers who finished among the top ten in their weight class, or top six for heavyweight and super heavyweight, at the Championships qualified for the Games.
The athletes selected today as members of Team GB are:
Andrew Selby, flyweight, up to 52 kg
Luke Campbell, bantamweight, up to 56 kg
Tom Stalker, light welterweight, up to 64 kg
Fred Evans, welterweight, up to 69 kg
Anthony Joshua, super heavyweight, +91 kg
The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA by the British Amateur Boxing Association, which manages the Great Britain Olympic boxing programme.
British boxers have built a proud tradition of success in Olympic competition, having won 49 medals – 14 gold, 12 silver and 23 bronze – dating back to the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games.
At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Team GB boxers won three medals: gold by James DeGale (middleweight), bronze by Tony Jeffries (light heavyweight) and David Price (super heavyweight).
With today’s announcement, 16 athletes have officially been selected to Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Commented Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt:
“I am delighted to welcome these five boxers to Team GB. The talent within the squad is extremely exciting: all five of them have won medals at World or European Championships and I am sure they will be looking to continue their success on the Olympic stage.
“The depth of talent within the current boxing squad is a true testament to the work of Rob McCracken and his coaching team.
“The boxers will feel the support of the nation when competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the ExCel Centre, which will - no doubt - be full of British fans. I am confident the boxers will deliver memorable performances.”
Rob McCracken, Team GB Boxing Team Leader and British Amateur Boxing Association Performance Director said:
“Since I took over as Performance Director in November 2009, the GB Boxing squad has performed consistently well at major Championships. To secure five Olympic qualifiers at our first opportunity was very satisfying and a great achievement by the boxers who have all worked hard to secure this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at a home Olympics.
“It is also the result of a lot of hard work by a whole team of people, most notably our coaches and the sports science team from the English Institute of Sport (EIS) who support the boxers inside and outside of the gym, and I would like to thank all of them for their part in helping the boxers to qualify. The five boxers are all a credit to the squad and if they box to their full potential then every one of them has the talent and ability to do well and secure a medal.”
Since Rob McCracken became Performance Director in November 2009, the male and female GB Boxing squads have won 16 medals at five European and World Championships.
Rob McCracken on Andrew Selby:
“Andrew is a wonderful natural talent. He has had an absolutely fantastic year, winning the European Championships and making the final of the Worlds, and if he continues to work hard and take that level of performance into next year then he has a great chance of doing well in the Olympics.”
On Luke Campbell:
“Luke has gone through some ups and downs over the last three years and has shown real character to regain his best form, after a long time out with injury, and secure his place at the Olympics. His record over the last 18 months has been second-to-none and as long as he maintains his form he will be a strong contender to do well at 2012.”
On Tom Stalker:
“Tom is a top-class international athlete with a medal collection to prove it. He has won medals at the Worlds, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games and now he has the chance to complete the full-set by winning one at the Olympics Games.”
On Fred Evans:
“Fred is a young man that has really come of age in the last year when he won the European Championship in Ankara in June 2011. He is a great talent and possesses a maturity beyond his years in the ring and knows how to win.”
On Anthony Joshua:
“We always knew we had something special on our hands with Anthony but his rate of progress this year, for someone who is still relatively inexperienced, has been absolutely fantastic. His performance at the World Championships in September was brilliant and as long as he continues to work hard in the gym, listen to the coaches and develop as a boxer then he has every chance of being a star in his hometown Olympics.”
When asked about the selection:
Andrew Selby (Barry) said:
“It has been a really tough journey just to qualify for the Olympics so it is amazing to finally be part of Team GB. I am just going to keep working hard and trying to improve and if I can maintain the form I have show this year then I should have a good chance of doing well.”
Tom Stalker (Liverpool) said:
“I can remember being in the gym back in 2008 when the lads that were going to Beijing got all of their kit and whilst I was pleased for them I was also very envious. It made me determined to qualify for 2012, so to have finally achieved it is a dream come true. I could not have done it without the help and support of my family, Rob McCracken and all of the coaches and staff at GB Boxing and want to thank each of them for their part in making me a better boxer and helping me to qualify for London. The next goal is to try and win a medal to complete my collection.”
Luke Campbell (Hull) said:
“I am just really pleased that all of the hard work and effort has finally paid off. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the last few years and whilst I never lost faith in my ability there were times when it was difficult so to have finally got my place as part of Team GB is a massive achievement. I have had a lot of support from a number of people, not least my family and the coaches and back-up team at GB Boxing and I would like to thank all of them for their help and assistance.”
Fred Evans (Cardiff) said:
“I went to Beijing as an observer so to think that I am going to compete in London is a dream come true and I will be doing everything I can to give myself the best possible chance of success. At GB Boxing we have a great team of people that help us in the gym and outside of it, and I would like to thank all of the coaches, staff and sports science team that have helped me to get this far.”
Anthony Joshua (London) said:
“It is amazing to have qualified for the Olympic Games but my priority is to continue to work hard in the gym, listen to the coaches and do everything I can to become a better boxer. We are very fortunate to have a great set-up and superb facilities as part of the GB Boxing programme and between now and next July my priority is to make the most of them, listen to Rob McCracken and the other coaches and work as hard as possible to make sure I am in peak condition for when the Games begin.”