(MAR 4) Olympic Gold medallist,
Katie Taylor has been appointed as boxing’s first ‘Athletes
Ambassador’ for the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan
June 12-28. Now just 100 days to the opening ceremony.
Taylor’s medal haul at major competitions stands at 17 golds,
including her Olympic title, five consecutive World
Championships, six consecutive European Championships, and five
European Union Championships, making her the most decorated
athlete in the history of women's Boxing.
©: Baku 2015 – ‘Athletes Ambassador’ Katie Taylor)
Mr. Simon Clegg, Chief Operating
Officer of Baku 2015, said: “I am delighted to welcome Katie to
the Baku 2015 team as an international Athlete Ambassador. To
have a champion of her calibre backing the first European Games
is a great endorsement of the event, and reflects the high level
of competition we will see this summer.
“I am sure Katie will very much enjoy promoting the Games
through her role as an Athlete Ambassador, and we look forward
to seeing her compete in Baku in June.”
Baku 2015 Athlete Ambassadors will represent their sports, and
feature in marketing campaigns around the continent and on
social media, to promote the first European Games.
Ms Taylor, 28, who has also represented the Republic of Ireland
women’s national football team, said: “Baku 2015 will be great
for European sport, and I am delighted to be involved both as an
Athlete Ambassador and as a competitor. I will be doing my best
to raise the Games’ profile and get the word out to as many
people as possible.”
Mr Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland,
said: “I have no doubt that Katie will do a great job of
promoting Baku 2015 around the country, helping to build support
for Ireland’s athletes in Azerbaijan this summer. As one of the
world’s leading competitors in any sport, you couldn’t ask for a
better ambassador for the first European Games.”
As to her own ambitions for the event, and the year ahead, the
Bray woman had this to say when speaking to the ‘Irish
Independent’ this week.
"My training schedule is amped up. I'm excited for the
Europeans. Then the qualifying rounds for the next Olympics are
early next year, so I'm training for all that."
On her training for 2015/16? : "Each session lasts about 90
minutes, six days a week. I get one day off, that's my favourite
day. I get a nice rest. But I love it.
"It can be quite hard and sometimes I don't want to get up and
go training but it's so worth it, I love what I do and I'm so
grateful and privileged to be able to do it."
"I'm really excited about the year ahead I feel like the best is
yet to come from myself. I feel like I'm always improving too,
which is great."
How does she motivate herself to keep going? The ‘Independent’
"I don't really think too much about the past and what I've
done," is her response. "I try to look forward and improve
always. The big challenge for me is defending titles, and just
get even better at what I do."
On carrying her nation’s hopes, so often she just shrugs her
shoulders: "Nothing is as big as the pressure you put on
yourself, in my opinion. The support of everyone has been
fantastic, it's so great to have the country behind me. It spurs
me on when I'm going through low points, as everyone does."
What sort of low points? "People don't really see the work that
goes in to getting to a gold medal position. The months and
months of hard work... you don't wake up every day with a smile
on your face - its hard work. It's those kind of times you have
to have perseverance."
Luckily for Katie, she has the support of her family. "It's
great working with my dad all the time."
The whole family is very close. It's so great to have that
support around me."
When asked what she's most proud of, she says them. "There's
nothing like having a good family around you. All these things
will fade away - I'm going to retire at some point, I won't be
boxing forever. The gold medals and the glory will fade away but
family will always be there. They're my main priority."
Life after boxing? : "I think I'd love to stay involved in the
sport when I retire, as a coach or an ambassador, some sort of
influence on the young girls coming up. When I was younger I
really admired Sonia O'Sullivan and Roy Keane, and still do.
"I have great admiration for Brian O'Driscoll too, any Irish
athlete on a world stage. I've always had such a heart for
sport, knew from such a young age, and had the Olympic dream
from a child."
As the ‘Independent’ concludes, Bray Boxing Club has been
extensively renovated and is now covered in the logo of Adidas,
her sponsor, with state-of-the-art equipment over two floors.
"This was all renovated after London and it's great to have it,
but as I've said before, it's not the gym that makes the
athlete, it's the ability. But of course it's really nice to
have great facilities. I feel very lucky to be in a position I
am with a few sponsors under my belt, I have a great team around
me and they've done a great job with me."
As we have previously reported here on WBAN, Ireland’s other
female boxers set for Baku are Belfast’s Michaela Walsh and
Cavan’s Ceire Smith. There are five women’s weights in Baku.
Ms Taylor joins British taekwondo athlete Jade Jones, French
rhythmic gymnast Kseniya Moustafaeva, Denmark’s canoe sprinter
René Holten Poulsen and Serbia’s Basketball 3x3 team of Du¹an
Domoviæ Bulut, Marko Savic, Marko Zdero and Dejan Majstorovic as
international Baku 2015 Athlete Ambassadors, with more to be
announced in the near future.