Olympic Shame. Devastation for Amy Broadhurst as lifelong Olympic Dream goes up in flames

Ever since she started boxing 22 years ago, Muirhevnamór’s World Champion Amy Broadhurst has dreamed of representing her country at the Olympic Games. Those dreams were fueled further in 2012 when her hero Katie Taylor visited Coláiste Rís, where Amy went to school, to show off her newly acquired Olympic Gold medal.

Now however, those dreams look to be shattered following a phonecall received by Broadhurst last Wednesday as she was driving home from the High Performance Unit in Dublin. IABA High Performance director Tricia Heberle called Amy explaining that neither she nor O’Rourke would be assessed and that Tullamore’s Grainne Walsh had instead been chosen in the 66KG for the upcoming qualifying tournament in Bangkok.
Broadhurst’s natural weight class is 60kg but reigning Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington fights in that class and with no 63kg category in the Olympics, the Muirhevnamór southpaw was forced to realise her dream of Olympic qualification in the 66Kg category.

She suffered a setback last summer at the European Games when she lost to England’s Rosie Eccles at the quarter final stage when a win would have seen her automatically qualify for the Olympics in Paris. However, a shoulder injury during those games hindered her efforts and she was told by IABA Head Coach Zauri Anita to get herself fit and ready for March this year when she would be given a chance to qualify for Paris through the final qualification competition in Thailand.

Selection for the coveted spot in the 66kg category was seemingly between Broadhurst, Grainne Walsh and Aoife O’Rourke but last Wednesday Broadhurst was told that she won’t be considered for assessment by High Performance Director Trish Heberle which has caused huge controversy in national boxing circles.

Broadhurst’s record as an amateur is truly remarkable winning 13 national titles before announcing herself on the world stage with gold medals at the World, European and Commonwealth championships.

A gold at last year’s prestigious Strandja tournament copper fastened Broadhurst’s claims for a place on the team and now her father and coach Tony Broadhurst wants an explanation given the fact his daughter had been promised she would get a chance to try and qualify for Paris in May’s final qualification competition in Bangkok.

“We are meeting with Zauri and Trish tomorrow (Tuesday 26th) and we will be asking them to explain their decision,” stated an angry Tony speaking on Monday.

“Amy did everything that was asked of her. She was told by Zauri to stay fit and get her weight down for March 22nd ahead of an assessment for qualification. She did all that and then rather than Zauri having the balls to tell her to her face at the High Performance Unit on Wednesday, Amy got the news she wouldn’t be considered for assessment via a phonecall from Australia as she was driving home from training.
“We were worried sick as we didn’t hear anything at all from Amy until midnight as she was so devastated upon hearing the news. She might has well have got a phonecall telling her a family member had died. This was everything to her. Since the age of 5 she has devoted her life to boxing and her three goals were to represent Ireland at the Olympics, become a World Champion and to be named Best Boxer at a major tournament. She ticked two of those boxes but it looks like she will never fulfil her main goal now,” explained Tony.

“She has been continuously promised that she would get an opportunity to qualify and when I heard that had been taking away from her I immediately rang the IABA Head Coach Zhari Anita asking for an explanation. He gave me two points as to how he and Trish had come to their decision but what he was saying was completely inaccurate and I came back at him with facts which clearly showed that.
“Their reasons make no sense. On the one hand you’ve got a World, European and Commonwealth Champion and a girl who has won gold for Ireland in four of the last 5 tournaments she has represented her country. On the other you have a boxer (Grainne Walsh) who has not medaled for Ireland in over four years. These are the facts.

We meet with Zhari and Trish tomorrow and we will listen to what they say but there will be no handshake at the end of the meeting or any niceness about it. They need to be made accountable. I know that Central Council have ordered an emergency meeting about this situation off the back of the furore the decision has caused with BBC and multiple media outlets covering the story.
“Things have snowballed and Trish and Zhari are going to have to explain how they have come to this decision. It’s not right and it’s not fair and Amy is heartbroken. Her dreams have been crushed because of the politics of the sport and this is more than likely the end of the road now for her in the amateur game unfortunately,” concluded Tony.

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