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injury woe Heartbreak for boxer Aidan Walsh as he is forced to abandon his Olympic dream

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Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Aidan Walsh of Ireland celebrates after defeating Merven Clair of Mauritius

Boxer Aidan Walsh has been forced to withdraw from his Olympic welterweight semi-final against Pat McCormack.

Ever since the Belfast fighter has seen leaving the boxing stadium in a wheelchair after securing a bronze medal on Friday there were doubts about whether he would be fit for what would have been the biggest fight of his career.

Initially, the Irish team played down the issue saying that he had suffered a slight sprain of his ankle, but they declined to give an update on his condition yesterday which fuelled rumours that he would be forced to concede the fight.

It is believed that he suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly after leaping into the air to celebrate his quarter-final win which guaranteed him a bronze medal, with Walsh given every opportunity to recover before he had to concede his gold medal dream was over.

Walsh would have had to undergo a medical prior to today’s fight but obviously had no chance of passing – hence the official announcement that he was withdrawing.

Walsh would have been the underdog in today’s semi-final against McCormack who beat him in the European Olympic qualifier in Paris last month as well as in the Commonwealth gold medal fight in Australia in 2018, with this statement issued by the Olympic Federation of Ireland confirming his competition had come to a premature end:

"The decision has been made to withdraw Aidan Walsh from the semi-final of the Men’s Welterweight competition at the Olympic Games.

"The Belfast boxer was due to fight in Sunday’s semi-final against Pat McCormack (GB), but due to an ankle injury sustained during his quarter-final bout with Mervin Clair (MRI), the decision to withdraw him was made in conjunction with his medical team. Walsh had initially hoped to compete and waited to give himself every opportunity to do so.

"However subsequent scans and medical reviews have now ruled out this possibility. He will still take home his bronze medal which he won in the quarter-final bout, becoming the sixteenth boxer to bring home a medal from the Olympic Games. The tally of Olympic boxing medals now stands at 17, more than 50% of the overall medals won by Team Ireland at Olympic Games."

Team Ireland Team Leader for Boxing, Bernard Dunne, added: “What Aidan did this week is an incredible achievement. His performance throughout the tournament has been outstanding. And it is great to see him write his name in the annals of Irish sport.

“Just over two years ago we selected Aidan for his first major championship, and over the past few months that potential that we had identified has grown and developed into a world class performance, that reflects greatly on the level of preparation he has put in ahead of these Games.

“These are a unique Games, and I’m really impressed with the team itself. They’ve all been rallying around each other, and I know that we will continue to do so. We have two more boxers hoping to win some medals, in Kellie and Kurt, and we will collectively make sure that they are ready.”

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