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Focus turns to National Elites

With the Open Youth Championships having been decided last night at the National Stadium, the focus now is on the upcoming National Elite Championships, which begin on February 21.

Seeding will be employed in the draw, which will be made after the weigh-in, which begins at 8am. The Elite squad has been at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this week for a training camp and competitive bouts with Team GB and France. While the Seniors next month is the boxers' immediate objective, preparation for the European Union Championships in July is also on the agenda.

Apart from the reigning Irish champions, the Irish squad includes Kurt Walker (Canal), Gary McKenna (Old School), Rohan Date (St Pauls) and Dean Gardiner (Clonmel) who should benefit from the experience. This is a busy time for the many amateur clubs which have proved a reliable conveyor belt of international talent since the Elite squad was set up in 2003. Apart from supervising their boxers in the national competitions for Youth and Seniors, clubs are making their proposals for funding the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport under the Sports Capital Programme.

Given the remarkable international success of our boxers at all levels, the Department should consider ring fencing funds for the clubs.