The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today the first three women ever to represent Team GB in boxing at the Olympic Games. Two further male boxers are also named as selected to Team GB today.
The selections bring the total number of boxers who will fight for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics to ten – seven male and three female. They represent Team GB’s largest ever Olympic boxing squad, two more than were selected for the last Olympics in Beijing.
The boxers selected to Team GB today are:
Nicola Adams – Women’s Flyweight, 51kg
Natasha Jonas – Women’s Lightweight, 60kg
Savannah Marshall – Women’s Middleweight, 75kg
Anthony Ogogo – Men’s Middleweight, 75kg
Josh Taylor – Men’s Lightweight, 60kg
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London is the first Olympic Games to include women’s boxing and Team GB will have plenty of reason for optimism after all three female boxers selected secured their qualification for London 2012 by winning medals at the recent World Championships in Quinhuangdao, China.
Savannah Marshall, 21, became Britain’s first ever women’s World Boxing Champion by winning the title on her 21st birthday with a tense 17-15 victory over Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan. It was the second time the boxing prodigy from Hartlepool had competed in the World Championship final after she agonisingly lost 5-4 to Andrecia Wasson of the USA in the 2010 final of the 69kg weight class in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Nicola Adams, 29, is Great Britain’s most decorated female boxer. She is the current European Champion at 51kg and a three-time World Championships silver medallist. Natasha Jonas, 27, has already made history twice as the first women to box in the Great Britain vest in November 2009 and the first ever British female to achieve the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games, which she did by winning a bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships in Quinhuangdao.
Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Anthony Ogogo and Scottish Lightweight Josh Taylor join the men’s squad after securing their qualification by virtue of their impressive performances at the second and final Olympic qualifying event in Trabzon, Turkey in April 2012.
The boxers selected today join the five male boxers already announced as members of Team GB in December last year after qualifying for the Olympics by virtue of their placement at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. The five boxers previously selected to 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
Together, the ten boxers now selected to Team GB include one World Champion, three European Champions, and four more World Championship finalists. Seven of the ten are ranked in the top four in the world in their weight class.
The squad, based in Sheffield, go into the Olympic competition at Excel with a strong track record and an unprecedented level of success which has resulted in 20 medals at six major tournaments over the last three years under the leadership of GB Boxing Performance Director Rob McCracken.
All ten athletes have achieved their places at the Olympic Games following a very tough qualification. The addition of the five boxers brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 195 across sixteen sport disciplines: archery, athletics – marathon, badminton, boxing, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and triathlon.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“I am delighted to welcome five further boxers to Team GB, including the first ever women boxers. The talent within the squad of ten boxers is extremely exciting: many 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.
“Boxing was the only Olympic discipline in which women could not participate and London 2012 is set to provide a real legacy for this sport. The growth of women boxers has increased quite drastically in recent years and the impressive performances from our athletes is very encouraging ahead of this summer. All three women won medals at the 2012 World Championships and we will fully support them in their quest to not only make history in London, but in helping to create a legacy for women’s boxing across the UK with their inspirational performances.
“The addition of Anthony and Josh further strengthens the men’s squad, who hold an impressive track record with three medals won at the last Games in Beijing, the depth and quality of talent in this current boxing squad is phenomenal.
“The boxers will feel the full support of the nation when competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the ExCel Centre. 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 ten Olympic qualifiers is a 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 ten 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.”
Rob McCracken on Savannah Marshall:
“To have world championship gold and silver medals at the age of just 21 says everything you need to know about Savannah. She is an enormous talent who is still improving and, as long as she continues to work hard and listen to the coaches, she has the potential to achieve whatever she wants in boxing.”
On Natasha Jonas:
“Natasha has continued to make great progress in the last 18 months and demonstrate what she is capable of. After establishing herself as the best in Britain she has now stepped-up to world level and shown that she is a top-class international boxer.”
On Nicola Adams:
“Nicola is a great talent with a medal haul to prove it. She is a class act and has been at the top of the world for a few years now. I expect her to do well in London.”
On Anthony Ogogo:
“Anthony really deserves this after everything he has been through. He has had to overcome some terrible luck with injury and it is great to see that his dedication, hard work and determination have been rewarded. He is a top class boxer who has proven he can beat anyone in the world on his day.”
On Josh Taylor:
“Josh’s commitment, work rate and will to succeed are second to none. He showed real determination by moving down a weight category (from 64kg to 60kg) to secure qualification for London. He has proven that he can mix it with the best and has a track record of performing well on the big occasion.”
Nicola Adams said:
“Three years ago boxing was not even an Olympic sport so to think that I am going to represent Team GB in London is just the most amazing feeling. I cannot wait.”
Natahsa Jonas said:
“The Olympics is the absolute pinnacle for female boxers so to be able to compete in a home Games and have the chance to win a medal is an amazing opportunity that I am determined to grab with both hands.”
Savannah Marshall said:
“I was only 14 years old when it was announced that the Olympics would be in London so to think that I will be competing in them is quite incredible. It is a massive prospect and I am determined to do well so right now I am just focused on training hard, listening to the coaches and doing everything I can to make sure I am in peak condition when the games begin.”
Josh Taylor said:
“It has been my ambition for a few years now to compete in the Olympics so to finally have that opportunity is a great feeling. The next step now is to make sure I do well and put everything into the final weeks of preparation and get myself in the best possible shape to win a medal.”
Anthony Ogogo said:
“It is an amazing feeling to know I am going to the Olympics after all the challenges I have had to overcome. I have had so much bad luck with injuries but I never lost faith in myself and have had some amazing support from the coaches and all of the back-up team that have helped me to get over my shoulder injury and make it to London. It will be a dream-come-true to represent Great Britain in a home Olympics and I cannot wait to walk out in that Arena in London.”