Monday 23 October 2017

Generous donor stumps up for Katie Taylor’s gym facilities

World champion boxer Katie Taylor
World champion boxer Katie Taylor
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Katie's father and trainer Pete on a recent visit to Bray Boxing Club.
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

DAYS of spending a penny in the local pub are numbered for world champion boxer Katie Taylor after a generous donor stumped up thousands of euro to have a shower and toilet fitted in her newly refurbished gym.

The four-time world champion has been training without toilet or shower facilities for the past five years in a decrepit building in Bray, Co Wicklow.

Bray Boxing Club was given a new lease of life recently after receiving a €24,000 state grant -- but the cash wouldn't stretch far enough to ensure the club got its first toilet and shower.

"The Government gave us a grant but we needed €7,000 extra," said Pete Taylor, Katie's father and coach.

"The owner of Mallon sausages in Co Monaghan read about our situation in the Irish Independent and contacted us. Even though times are hard there's still a lot of goodwill out there. We're very thankful.

"When Enda Kenny visited us last month I think he was shocked when he saw the condition of the place. If we go away to other countries the facilities are unbelievable."

Paddy Mallon, from Mallon Foods, said: "As a boy my father had a great interest in boxing and Katie's plight really hit the heartstrings. Given that she didn't have proper facilities despite all she's done for Ireland, we thought it wasn't right."

Pete Taylor, who founded the club five years ago, said the lack of proper facilities has impacted on Katie's health and overall performance in the ring.

"In the past we'd be halfway through a session and Katie would have to walk to a local pub called the Harbour Bar. It caused her to get cold because leaving the club after sweating isn't a good idea; it was a nightmare and impacted on her training."

Despite his daughter's glittering career, Pete has revealed how he hopes his daughter hangs up her gloves after competing in London this summer.

"I'll be delighted when she does retire as it will be a lot of stress off me. I hope she retires after the Olympics. But it's going to be Katie's decision and I'll back her 100pc."

Sacrifices

Pete says it's become increasingly difficult for him to separate his two roles as Katie's father and coach, and he often struggles to watch his daughter battle it out in the ring.

"Separating my roles is the most difficult thing for me now. It's tough to watch your daughter in a boxing ring and it's very nerve-racking."

Despite being one of the most popular Irish boxers of her generation, Pete says his 26-year-old daughter has little time for a social life or a relationship.

"She doesn't have a social life; you can't burn the candle at both ends. If you want to compete at the top then you have got to make sacrifices.

"Boxing is what she loves doing. She doesn't have time for a relationship and Katie is happy doing what she's doing at the moment. . . as long as she's happy and healthy that's the main thing for me."

Irish Independent

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