GORT teenager Cliona D’Arcy won the gold medal in the heavyweight division of boxing’s World Youth Championships last Saturday.
It sees the Leaving Cert student at Gort Community School add to the European gold medal that she won in April.
D’arcy defeated India’s Kirti Kirti in the final, with all five judges giving her the verdict.
“It’s absolutely amazing, I actually can’t put it into words. The support from everyone really helps, and the coaches’ advice has really brought me a long way, I’m absolutely delighted!” she said in the aftermath of the final.
“We watched a few fights and saw that she kept coming forward, so trying to stay off her and keep angles was my main strategy for the fight.
“I was very, very nervous going in. I didn’t know what to expect, I thought that she probably would have the better of me, but as soon as I stepped in the ring my nerves calmed a bit. It’s like a switch goes off and I’m calm in the ring,” she added.
Cliona arrived home to a hero’s welcome in Gort and she thanked all those who came. “I just want to thank everyone for coming, it’s so nice to see all the support.”
She said that boxing had been a big part of her family life, with her father and brothers involved in the sport before her.
“I kind of looked up to them, they were always going off on the weekends, so I went down and gave it a go and it started from there.”
Asked about the level of commitments she puts in, she said she trains almost every day.
“I train Monday to Friday with the club and I’ve been up in Dublin every Saturday and Sunday since the Europeans.”
Cliona was one of six Irish boxers to win a medal at the championships, with Ennis fighter Jim Donovan also medalling, taking a bronze.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.