Army gets Olympic hopefuls fighting fit
WHEN you have to be fighting fit, where better to start than with a soldiers' boot camp.
Members of the Defence Forces put Ireland's Olympic boxing hopefuls through their paces at the Curragh Camp yesterday and judging by the expressions on their faces, the session was just as tough as a bout in the ring.
The fighters, who represent Ireland's boxing hopes in the 2012 Games, squared up against others who have volunteered to fight for their country.
The team who toiled through the assault course included light heavyweight Joe Ward, fresh from his sensational victory over Kenny Egan, and light flyweight Paddy Barnes, both of whom will be hoping to get through to London in the final Olympic qualifiers in Turkey in April. But there was no sign of the queen of Irish women's boxing Katie Taylor who proved a match for her male teammates when she sparred with Paddy Barnes during an intense training session in the gym recently.
Katie is hoping to make the Olympics with a series of wins at the Beijing qualifiers.
Corporal Paddy McMahon was among the members of the Defence Forces who tested the strengths of the boxing stars in Kildare yesterday, wrestling with them and taking part in a competitive tug of war.
The athletes also struggled under camouflage netting, over tyres and through the mud before racing each other, while weighted down with an ammunition box in each hand. They used thick ropes to drag heavy weights as they competed with each other to reach the end of the assault course.