Downs and Ups

OLYMPICS: DISAPPOINTMENT AS GRAINNE PULLS OUT, BUT ADAM'S DREAM STILL ALIVE AS HE MAKES LAST 16

Published 01/08/2012 | 09:30

GARDA ADAM NOLAN laid down the law as he kicked off his Olympic bid in some style, reigning supreme in his opening welterweight bout victory against Ecuador's Carlos Sanches Estachio at the Excel Stadium in London on Sunday night last.

With Ireland having won their two opening fights, it was southpaw Nolan's turn to step up, turning in an energetic display to overcome his opponent on a comfortable 14-8 scoreline.

The Ballagh man looked assured on his Olympic debut, even if he eased off prematurely to make it a nervous third round.

The 6 ft. Nolan enjoyed a three-inch reach advantage over Estacio and used it, a wise move considering he was caught by a strong right hand from the 24-year-old after one minute.

But the Bray boxer, watched anxiously by his coach Pete Taylor in the stands, and with his Wexford colleague, Billy Walsh, in his corner, was by far the more accurate of the two, winning the opening round 6-3.

The second was a much cagier affair until the final minute when both boxers began to exert themselves, but it was the sheer volume of Nolan's punches that saw him increase his lead to 11-6 heading into the final round.

He saw the contest out as he edged through that final round 3-2, dodging most of his desperate rival's late punching bursts, apart from a left hook in the final minute that rocked him. It didn't matter as Nolan secured a 14-8 win to book his place in the last 16 on Friday. 'I was a little over-eager to get in there and get the win,' he said. 'It's like a cauldron and I was a little taken aback at the start, but without the crowd I wouldn't have got through it.

'I made it hard for myself but the main thing is I got through. My performances to get here were top-class and there will be pressure on the Russian come Friday. I will go out there and throw off the shackles and try to box with a free spirit.'

So Adam has produced in his opening fight and the dream lives on in The Ballagh for their local hero. They rejoiced on the verdict and now look forward to him taking the Russian's scalp this Friday. SWIM IRELAND, in a statement issued yesterday (Tuesday) morning, confirmed Gráinne Murphy had withdrawn from her favourite event, the 800m freestyle, due to take place on Thursday.

The 19-year-old had already withdrawn from the 200m heat on Monday. She suffered from glandular fever recently and was not thought to be fully fit after a disappointing performance in the 400m freestyle heat last Sunday.

Doubts arose throughout swimming circles as to Gráinne's fitness to compete. Then came the shattering announcement on Tuesday morning confirming that she wouldn't be competing on Thursday.

Swim Ireland performance director, Peter Banks, admitted that the mystery virus she contacted earlier this year was glandular fever, a debilitating illness that at times prevented Murphy from getting out of her bed. 'She had the virus around March time,' said Banks. 'She really didn't miss an awful lot of training, she just tailored down her training. She had to back off the intensity because it was a virus that made her tired.

'I don't think she wasn't fit (to compete this week). I just think she wasn't race fit. She was fit enough as she was training, but the expectations of where her race was (had changed).

'When you look at where she was in March, she was 4:09 and 8:29 in the 800m, and that's in the middle of training without resting. Everything looked really well but things just didn't work out.

In the media mixed zone on Sunday, a shattered Gráinne Murphy didn't stop, whispering a quiet 'no' in the media direction as she passed.

Now that she has announced her withdrawal from the 800m freestyle, there will be huge sympathy for her plight from the people of Co. Wexford.

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