Boxers dodge uncertainties to throw their hats in the ring for Tokyo

Alex Winwood is one of six Australian boxers hunting a gold medal in Tokyo. Photo: Australian Olympic Team

The Australian Olympic Committee announced the six boxers heading to Tokyo to make their Olympic debut on Tuesday morning.

Skye Nicolson will compete in the featherweight class, whilst Caitlin Parker will fight in the middleweight class. Both women secured their quota in February last year at the Asian Qualification Tournament in Amman Jordan.

Paolo Aokuso, Harry Garside, Justis Huni and Alex Winwood will contest the men’s light-heavyweight, lightweight, super heavyweight and flyweight divisions respectively. Aokuso, Huni and Winwood also earned their quote spot in February last year, whilst Garside earned his quota due to his world ranking.

This might be the first time at the Olympics for all members of the team, however, they have experience at the international level.

Nicolson won bronze at the World Championships in 2019 and gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Huni also won World Championship bronze in 2019 whilst Garside was another gold medallist and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Parker is another medallist at a major tournament, winning Bronze in Nanjing at the 2014 Youth Olympics.

Winwood is the first indigenous athlete named to the Australian Olympic team for the Tokyo games. Following the announcement, he expressed his excitement to represent his country and heritage.

“Being able to represent my country and my heritage is exactly who I am, I want to bring everyone together, my country and my people at the same time,” he said.

“With everything that happened since I qualified, it’s just such a relief that I’m at this point now, getting ready for the Games and finally being announced to the team.”

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Skye Nicholson spoke on the connection she feels to her brother through her Olympic journey.

“I feel very proud, and like I’ve made my family really proud,” she said.

“It’s so special I can have this connection to Jamie following in the same footsteps, and for sport to have that power to build such an ongoing connection between us.

“Honestly it still doesn’t feel real, the delay has felt so long, it’s so exciting to officially be named on the Olympic team.

“The wait has been hard, but I’m more focused than ever on getting to Tokyo and winning Australia’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in boxing. That’s the ultimate goal.

“It’s all the one-percenters, getting to bed, avoiding distractions, doing everything I can, every minute of every day, so I can bring the best version of me to the ring in Tokyo.”

Watch out for the Australian boxers in Tokyo, with the round of 32 beginning for most classes on July 24 and culminating in finals on August 8.

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