Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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Three women will make Commonwealth Games history just by being in Glasgow this year
Photo/Harris on Facebook
May 29, 2014


(MAY 29) Kristy Harris, Shelley Watts and Kaye Scott are among the 11 boxers named in the Australian team today by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association. Women’s boxing will be contested for the first time in Games’ history in Glasgow.

Women’s boxing made its Olympic debut with Australia sending only one athlete to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Glasgow 2014 will offer women the opportunity to contest medals in three weight categories – 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.

“We welcome the inclusion of women for the first time into a sport with a long tradition at the Commonwealth Games,” ACGA Chief Executive Officer Perry Crosswhite said. “Boxing has been contested at every Empire and Commonwealth Games since the first in 1930.”

“We hope for success in Glasgow. Australia’s boxers have always made a strong contribution to our medal tally.”

Boxing Australia named its team of eight men and three women for Glasgow after its 2014 Australian championships in Perth in April. The winners of each weight division were eligible for nomination.

Limited to nominating 11 boxers from 13 weight categories (10 men, three women), Boxing Australia faced a tough decision. It decided to nominate competitors in all three women’s categories, meaning two of the 10 men’s national champions could not be nominated.

Shelley Watts, who will fight in the 60kg division, won the female boxer of the tournament at the 2014 Australian championships. The 26-year-old comes from the mid-North Coast NSW town of Laurieton, just south of Port Macquarie, and trains at a Penrith gymnasium. She is studying law and wants to become a criminal barrister.

Geelong-based Harris, 21, will fight in the 51kg division and Hornsby’s Scott, who will turn 30 just before the Games, will represent in the 75kg.

BA chief executive officer Kable Kelleway believes the three women have an equal chance of doing well in Glasgow.

“They’re all at relatively the same level,” says Kelleway, “so it will all come down to their draw.”

The men nominated include a relative of Socceroos star Tim Cahill, and a boxer mentored by the original coach of former world boxing champion Danny Green.

Jai Opetaia became the youngest fighter ever to represent Australia at an Olympic Games in London 2012. Then 17 years old, he was desperately close to claiming an upset defeat of the ultimate bronze medallist, Teymur Mammadov of Azerbaijan. From the NSW Central Coast, he will turn 19 just before the Commonwealth Games.

Opetaia is of Samoan-Australian background and won a junior world championship in 2011 as a light-heavyweight. He is related to Socceroos legend Tim Cahill and will fight in the 91kg division.

Daniel Lewis, a gold medallist at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, has been named in the 69kg division.

Jordan Samardali was the male boxer of the tournament at the 2014 Australian championships. He is coached by Patrick Devellerez, the original coach of Australian boxing great Danny Green.

Samardali will contest the 81kg division in Glasgow.

Jackson Woods and Nick Cooney are both from the powerful Latrobe Boxing Club in Tasmania, where they are coached by Woods’ uncle, Craig Woods.

Woods will fight in the 56kg division, Cooney in the 60kg.

Woods defeated Melbourne’s Jason Moloney to win the national title, breaking up the twin brother Jason and Andrew Moloney combination who had both represented Australia in Delhi four years ago.

Andrew Moloney returns for his second Commonwealth Games in the 52kg category.

The remaining boxers in the team are Mark Lucas (75kg) and Queensland’s Joseph Goodall (91+kg).

Boxing, along with athletics and swimming, is one of the three sports to have been contested at every edition of the Empire/Commonwealth Games. After winning six medals (two gold, four bronze) in Melbourne in 2006, Australia failed to take a medal in Delhi.

Boxing events in Glasgow will be contested at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Precinct with preliminaries on 25-30 July, semi-finals on 1 August and finals on 2 August.

The Australian boxing team for the Commonwealth Games:

Kristy Harris – 51kg
Shelley Watts – 60kg
Kaye Scott – 75kg

Andrew Moloney – 52kg
Jackson Woods – 56kg
Nick Cooney – 60kg
Daniel Lewis – 69kg
Mark Lucas – 75kg
Jordan Samardali – 81kg
Jai Opetaia – 91kg
Joseph Goodall – 91+kg

Head Coach – Kevin Smith
Assistant coach – Don Abnett
Section Manager – Allan Nicholson

*Press release from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association regarding the Australian boxers selected to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.


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