Taylor on top but Murphy left winded
TWO EXTRAORDINARY Irish athletes, Katie Taylor and Annalise Murphy, combined to make yesterday an Olympic day to remember in London.
Taylor continued to draw on the reservoirs of superlatives that have been used to describe her boxing ability with an emotional and powerful performance in the ExCel arena, where she secured an Olympic bronze medal. She is the first Irishwoman to win an Olympic medal since Sonia O’Sullivan won silver in the 5,000m in Sydney 2000. Top seed Taylor now meets Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva in tomorrow’s semifinal.
Murphy, who went into the final day of racing in sailing’s Laser Radial class, had hundreds of Irish fans supporting her bid from vantage points at Weymouth but she agonisingly finished just out of the medals.
The Dubliner was successfully challenging for a top three position in the early part of the race but critically fell back towards the end and finally finished in fourth place overall.
Taylor’s performance in front of 10,000 fans was the greatest spectacle so far in the inaugural women’s Olympic boxing event and has made all heads turn. When the Irish lightweight emerged from the tunnel into the boxing area, the docklands arena exploded into life as thousands of Irish fans matched, in volume and noise, the home support of British boxer Natasha Jonas.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was such an amazing atmosphere,” said Taylor after winning the bout 26-15. “I knew it was going to be great but it took me by surprise a small bit. It’s a privilege to box for them as well as my country and for my family.”
Boxing team head coach Billy Walsh now has two medals secured, with John Joe Nevin winning bronze on Sunday and Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes in medal fights.
“She came for the third round all guns blazing,” said Walsh. “It seemed to be the second attack or the third, the fourth, the fifth shot that were scoring for her and she just kept on loading them. Put in a fantastic round.” Walsh was also aware of the efforts of Murphy.“She put in some remarkable performances and it is very, very hard on her to come away in fourth place. It’s the worst place to finish in an Olympic Games.”