Katie Taylor: Gold in Rio would be my greatest achievement

‘With the challenges of this year, to stand on top of the podium would be an unbelievable feeling’

 Katie Taylor pictured  with  gymnast Ellis O’Reilly and runner  Thomas Barr at the launch of the New Balance Irish Olympic gear  in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Katie Taylor pictured with gymnast Ellis O’Reilly and runner Thomas Barr at the launch of the New Balance Irish Olympic gear in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Defending Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor has said that her last few months have been a significant challenge for her in the lead up to Rio.

Having lost to Azeri southpaw Yana Alekseevna in this year’s Olympic qualifying event in Turkey and then falling to Estelle Mossely in the semi-finals of last month’s World Championships in Astana, the 29-year-old faces into the Rio Games with an unprecedented two defeats having gone unbeaten for more than a decade in major championships.

“It’s a horrible feeling, a very humble feeling,” said Taylor at the launch of the Irish Olympic team’s New Balance uniform. “It’s not where you want to be. I just want to run away in those situations, but you just have to grin and bear it. Accept it and move on.

“It’s been a very challenging few months, for sure. And a very disappointing few months. But, at the same time, a lot of positives have come out of those few months as well. Thank God, I have Rio to look forward to and hopefully [I can] rectify things.”

Taylor added that to win the gold medal for a second time after London 2012 would be her greatest achievement after winning six European Championship gold medals and five World Championship golds as well as a world bronze.

She will travel to Rio as the world number one ranked boxer in the 60kg division, 840 points ahead of nearest rival, China’s Junhua Yin and 850 points ahead of Mossely .

“It definitely will,” said Taylor when asked if winning in Rio would be her best achievement. “With the challenges of this year, to stand on top of the podium would be an unbelievable feeling.

“It’s going to be such an emotional feeling as well, I’m sure. I feel that the losses will do me good, really. I never think about losing. That’s why it’s so hard to accept a loss.

“I do a good job of staying positive and just moving on. It’s not as if I was getting out boxed in that fight. Nothing I’m going to say is going to change the decision but I feel I performed very well during the competition.

“From the very first fight to the last one, my performances were very good and strong.

“But, at the same time, I’m going to the Olympic Games with the same mind-set as every other competition, with the hope of coming home with a gold medal.”

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