Nolan's dream over

Brendan Furlong

Published 26/01/2016 | 00:00

A poignant moment in the National Stadium on Friday as Adam Nolan looks to the heavens after collecting the 69 kg. title belt and cup. Adam's grandmother and number one supporter, Mrs. May Devereux of Castlebridge, passed away on the eve of the fight
A poignant moment in the National Stadium on Friday as Adam Nolan looks to the heavens after collecting the 69 kg. title belt and cup. Adam's grandmother and number one supporter, Mrs. May Devereux of Castlebridge, passed away on the eve of the fight

Ballagh native Adam Nolan has revealed his heartache at missing out on the Rio Olympics after being told he could not take part in the European qualifying event in Istanbul in April.

London 2010 Olympian Nolan claimed his fifth Irish Senior crown last month, but Ballymena fighter Stephen Donnelly has been ratified in the sole Irish welterweight spot for this year's games after finishing fourth in the world series of boxing semi-pro series.

'After winning the Senior title a couple of weeks ago, people are under the impression that I'm going to go to a qualifier for Rio in Istanbul, but unfortunately that's not the case,' Nolan said.

'Stephen Donnelly has qualified through the world series of boxing, the same route that Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have qualified through.

'He was ratified by the governing body (Irish Amateur Boxing Association), so unfortunately I won't even get the chance now to go to the qualifier. As far as I'm concerned, and the I.A.B.A. are concerned, it's dead in the water.

'Stephen had his last W.S.B. bout going back six or seven months ago. It was maybe five months later when he realised he had qualified because there was a knock-on effect.

'He finished fourth in the W.S.B. and only the top two qualified, but they qualified through a different route as well and had to take these alternative routes, so the number three and four in the W.S.B. qualified.

'Going back six or seven months, I thought I was in with a great shout, but as late as November I knew things might not have materialised for me.

'I was under the impression going into the Seniors that if I retained my title, I could be sent to a qualifier. But a couple of days later I was hit with this bombshell that winning my fifth Senior title was all in vain - "you can't be sent now, Stephen has been ratified by the governing body".

'The I.A.B.A. were given a deadline of December 4 to ratify Stephen. If they hadn't ratified him and I went to a qualifier and didn't qualify, we'd have no welterweight going.

'So the way they are looking at it is, they have to ratify him. I have no sour grapes with them, I've no grievances, but I was hoping for a fair crack of the whip.'

Nolan said he found it difficult to accept that retaining the national title wasn't enough to put him in contention for the welterweight spot and questioned the awarding of places through the W.S.B. system.

'Boxing in the Olympics is an amateur sport,' he said. 'Having come through the amateur route to be told that the W.S.B., a semi-pro route, is going to take priority over the amateur route, doesn't make sense to me or other fighters. But that's the way it is now, I can't dwell on it.

'I feel disappointed I'm not getting the chance to qualify for Rio,' he said.

The Bray-based Garda said it was a particular source of frustration as he felt he was in the form of his life and could have been a contender in Rio, but he'll be too old for Tokyo 2020.

'At 29 I'm in the twilight of my career. Rio was my last chance. I'm going to be 33 come Tokyo. This was to be my last hurrah,' he added.

Wexford People

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