Commonwealth Games team preview: Australia26 June 2014
With the Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of July, we will be previewing the boxing teams of many of the countries who will be taking part in the prestigious tournament.
Our first preview involves one of the most successful boxing nations on Earth, as we delve into the squad of the Australian boxing team, which has been selected by their national head coach and their National Olympic Committee.
The country from down under are taking a fairly young team, and they have got great potential for the Games, where they are focusing on the podium places.
What: Commonwealth Games
Where: Glasgow, Scotland
When: 23 July – 3 August, 2014
The Tension and the Drama
The Australian boxing team did not claim a single boxing medal in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, which was one of the biggest surprises of the event in India four years ago, especially as Australia topped the overall medal table in the Games.
Five of the Aussie athletes advanced to the quarter-finals in New Delhi, but all of them were eliminated by strong opponents.
The team this time around have better expectations in comparison to the 2010 edition, but the biggest question of the Australian squad is who will be able to break the medal curse in Glasgow first?
Ones to watch in the Commonwealth Games
Tipped as one of Australia’s best hopes is the highly rated Jackson Woods, a quarter-finalist at the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships in Baku, and a London 2012 Olympian.
The young Aussie boxer has now moved up to the Bantamweight class (56 kg), and will be aiming to medal in Glasgow.
Australia’s new Welterweight class (69 kg) star Daniel Lewis defeated Hungary’s EUBC European Continental Champion Balazs Bacskai in the Belgrade Winner Tournament last year, and has won three international tournaments.
The Sydney-based boxer will be turning 21 later this year, and he is among the gold medal contenders of the Welterweight class.
National Champion Mark Lucas is another exciting young boxer in the team, and he will represent Australia at the Middleweight class (75 kg).
AIBA Junior World Champion and AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers winner Jai Tapu Opetaia was the youngest competitor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, aged just 17.
The Heavyweight class (91 kg) boxer claimed a bronze in the 2012 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Yerevan, Armenia and rejoined the elite level this January.
With such impressive pedigree, the young boxer of Samoan-descent has gold medal expectations in Glasgow, where his biggest rivals include the tough Canadian Samir El-Mais, and India’s Dinesh Kumar.
Facts of the Australian squad
Seventy nations are members of the Commonwealth Games Committee, with Australia being one of the most successful sporting nations involved in the committee.
With women’s boxing involved in the Commonwealth Games for the very first time, the Australian women’s squad contains medal hopes including AIBA Women’s World Championships competitor and Oceanian Continental Champion Kristy Harris (51 kg), plus the exciting Shelley Watts (60 kg) and Kaye Scott (75 kg).
Ahmet Comert Tournament silver medallist Andrew Moloney (52 kg) was a quarter-finalist in the last edition of the Games in New Delhi, and Moloney will be hoping to go at least one further in Glasgow.
Talented 19-year-old Nick Cooney (60 kg), young Jordan Samardali (81 kg) and Joseph Goodall (+91 kg) are also involved in the traveling team, and will be looking to impress their coach and country.
Australia’s history in the event
Australia have traditionally been one of the strongest boxing countries among the Commonwealth nations, and their team have competed in many editions of the Commonwealth Games.
Their first gold medal was achieved by Leonard Cook in London in 1934, while their last titles were delivered by Jarrod Fletcher and Bradley Pitt in Melbourne in 2006.
Perhaps their best ever performance was achieved in Manchester in 2002, when Australia claimed three gold medals in the 17th edition of the Games.