Saturday 17 August 2019

Editorial: 'Katie an inspiration and role model to all young women'

Katie Taylor - the undisputed world champion in her chosen sport - is clear evidence of that change and a true role model. Photo: Sportsfile
Katie Taylor - the undisputed world champion in her chosen sport - is clear evidence of that change and a true role model. Photo: Sportsfile
Editorial

Editorial

Katie Taylor has now taken her place among the all-time greats of Irish sport - irrespective of sporting code and of gender.

In the spiritual home of global professional boxing, at Madison Square Gardens in New York, she became the undisputed women's world lightweight champion. After a tough and extremely close battle with Belgian boxer Delfine Persoon, Katie achieved the goal she set herself when she turned professional almost four years ago: to be the sole world champion in her weight class.

In the strangely divided world of boxing there are four world titles. She has won all four, and added a fifth from 'Ring' magazine which recognises this stand-out achievement.

The Bray boxer is deservedly one of Ireland's most popular sporting characters.

As an amateur, she swept all before her, winning national, European and world titles aplenty. The stand-out achievement, which gladdened all Irish people's hearts, was winning Olympic gold at the London Games in 2012. After disappointment in Rio 2016, she opted to go professional.

She has gone from strength to strength since then. Yesterday she combined stylish boxing with gritty toughness, physically and mentally.

The bout was very closely scored and the outcome the source of some controversy afterwards. But that is all too common in sport and the verdict has been rendered.

It is time Irish fans of boxing, and sport fans generally, saluted Katie. May she continue to succeed and enjoy.

Thereafter, there are other talking points and plenty of food for thought. An important point is that she is a significant role model for a rising generation of young women, an all-time trailblazer in her sport, making a major contribution to women's boxing gaining acceptability and recognition.

The world champion has clung steadfastly to her dreams and worked with all her determination to realise them.

Admittedly, boxing is not to everybody's taste and some people may not be entirely comfortable with endorsing Katie as a role model.

But there are many other sports. National and international success in any sport requires the same levels of discipline and self-sacrifice to achieve the fitness and resilience to get to the top.

Many of those same principles apply in other walks of life, in fields like the visual arts, music and drama. They also apply in political and social action. Historically in Ireland, too many of these activities have been characterised by a major downplaying of women's roles, and sometimes to the total exclusion of women.

But Ireland is now rapidly changing and women are taking their rightful place in the front ranks of all facets of national life. To further such change, young women need high achievers as role models to look up to.

Katie Taylor - the undisputed world champion in her chosen sport - is clear evidence of that change and a true role model.

Irish Independent

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