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Road to Rio: Aussie boxers qualify for the Olympics

Roar Guru
3rd April, 2016
6

Australian boxers Daniel Lewis (75kg middleweight), Jason Whateley (91kg heavyweight) and Shelley Watts (60kg lightweight) will represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, after securing their places at the Asian and Oceania qualifiers held in China over the past week.

In many Olympic sports, being the best in your country would guarantee you a place in Rio. Not so with boxing. Because of the nature of boxing competition, it’s only practical for up to 32 boxers to compete in any weight division in the two week Olympic event.

With 196 countries in the world, it’s therefore hard for any boxer to secure one of the few Olympic spots available.

The qualification journey for Lewis, Whateley and Watts has been long and difficult. They first had to win their respective weight divisions at the Australian Championships.

Then they had to finish in the top three at this week’s Asian and Oceania Olympic qualifiers, where the best boxers from 28 countries in the region were eligible to compete.

Lewis and Whateley secured bronze medals and Watts a silver at the event, to finally confirm their Rio Olympic places.

Their qualification is a massive achievement. but further success is even tougher from here. To win a gold medal at the Olympics, you need to win up to five fights.

A loss is automatic elimination. But all three boxers have shown they have what it takes to perform under pressure.

Watts became Australia’s first ever female boxing gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, while Lewis was desperately unlucky at the same event.

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He suffered a cut in winning his second bout at the Games, and was subsequently ruled out from competing in the quarter finals on medical grounds. Whateley won a silver medal at the 2015 Oceania Championships.

Lewis, Whateley and Watts will continue to work hard in training over the coming months now that their Olympic dream is a reality.

Australia hasn’t won an Olympic boxing medal since 1988 when Grahame ‘Spike’ Cheney brought home a silver from Seoul in the Light Welterweight division.

Let’s all get behind them on the road to Rio as they attempt to break the drought!

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