Olympic boxers to get new training centre ahead of Rio
IRELAND's top boxers will be boosted by a new elite training centre by the end of this year which will see them move from their spiritual home in the National Stadium.
Boxing's current 'high performance' training base on Dublin's South Circular Road, while famously sparse, has legendary status in the global amateur game as a hot-house for so many world-class fighters.
It has become a virtual medal factory for Irish sport and produced superstars like Katie Taylor (right) and Paddy Barnes.
A new building on the national sports campus in Abbotstown, which already houses the Institute for Sport, is being fast-tracked to give Ireland's most successful Olympic sport this training centre.
It will include five permanent boxing rings and it should be finished by early September, 11 months before the Rio Olympics.
Given the ancillary training and medical facilities already available at Abbotstown, it looks likely that the IABA will move their elite international squad there and keep the existing facilities at 'The Stadium' for youth and development training.
Boxing's new facility is not part of the proposed national indoor stadium, which will not be completed until November 2016.
It will be housed in a new extension to an existing building that is also going to include 4x130m indoor training lanes.
The Olympic qualification system for boxing has expanded dramatically since London, with three possible routes now to make it to Rio, yet IABA CEO Fergal Carruth said yesterday that Ireland has such depth of talent that he couldn't rule out needing 'box-offs' next year.
Boxers can still qualify through the traditional international championships but places are also available in the two new Pro-Am competitions (APB and WSB) - Ireland has seven boxers, including Barnes, Michael Conlan, Joe Ward and David Oliver Joyce, competing in those.
Boxing received the biggest 'high performance' grant (€925,000) when the Sports Council released its 2015 funding yesterday.
A package of €19.6m was announced overall, between annual grants to 59 national governing bodies (NGBs) and separate high performance (HP) funding.
Special Olympics' €1.45m topped the €10.8m NGB funding, followed by athletics (€885,702), swimming (€826,220) and Horse Sport Ireland (€773,191), and boxing got €431,713 there.
But in the separate HP budget boxing got the most, followed by athletics (€880,000), Paralympics (€665,000), sailing (€635,000), swimming (€560,000), horse sport Ireland (€550,000), hockey (€450,000) and rowing (€410,000).
The HP budget was up from €7.3m last year to €8.1m but that was due to the extra €1m that was announced before Christmas which has been ring-fenced for pre-Olympic training camps and qualification competitions.
For the 10th year in a row 'Women in Sport' initiatives also got a separate €600,000 led by basketball (€105,000) and swimming (€95,000) - the latter, like badminton, got a significant increase there because of the success of their 'Swim for a Mile' and 'Get Going, Get Rowing' initiatives.