Walsh turned over in Minsk final as Magees beaten in badminton semi

Walsh turned over in Minsk final as Magees beaten in badminton semi
Picture: INPHO/Soenar Chamid

Michaela Walsh has been beaten in her featherweight boxing final at the European Games in Minsk, while badminton’s Magee family scored bronze.

26-year-old from Belfast Walsh was downed 4-1 on the judges’ decision by Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova at the Uchiche Sports Palace.

A tight, fussy contest saw very little initiative early on, with 2014 world champion Petrova considered by four of the five judges to have taken the opening round, something repeated in the third and final chapter.

In the end, only Russian judge Sergey Krutasov edged it Walsh’s way 29-28, with the other four scoring it in favour of Petrova – two giving every single round to the Bulgarian.

Walsh said afterwards: “I’m really heartbroken but, at the end of the day, this is all with an eye to Tokyo and I just have to accept what it is.

“I thought that I got it, but it is what is, and we’ll just have to move on and get back to the drawing board I guess.”

Ireland’s badminton run ended at the Falcon Club with Chloe and Sam Magee picking up bronze in the mixed doubles.

The Irish duo were beaten in their semi-final 21-8 21-18 by top seeds and twice European champions Gabby and Chris Adcock.

The British husband-and-wife team raced into a strong early advantage, but the Magee siblings looked a lot more settled in a considerably longer second game.

However, the Adcocks managed to gain the upper hand in the final few points to prevent the contest going into a deciding game.

Because of the compressed format of the European Games this time around, both sets of losing semi-finalists are awarded bronze medals, instead of there being a third-fourth play-off.

Sam glowed afterwards: “It’s so nice to contribute a medal, especially with the boxers doing brilliant so it’s nice that badminton can also put in a medal for team Ireland.

“We are super proud of course, these things don’t come around that often and we know how special it is to win bronze.

We were a little bit too slow at getting started. As we worked our way into the game, we got a bit more comfortable.

“They’ve got a lot of skills, they’re extremely fast which is the first thing: you have to be able to match their speed, and we didn’t for long parts of the game.

“Once we did, we felt it was quite even towards the end and we just ran out of time.”

Sister Chloe reflected: “I’m just glad that we kept fighting.

“We were able to turn it around and tried to perform at the best that we can perform.

“We know that we could do better than the first set, so we didn’t put our heads down, which was good. I think today they were better than us, but we can be very proud of how we performed this week.”

At the Minsk Arena Velodrome, Shannon McCurley finished eighth in the four-race omnium, as six-time world champion Kirsten Wild took gold for the second consecutive night.

Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan achieved the same position in the 50k two-man Madison competition.

Downey said: “That was a really positive start to the race.

“Something we always lacked is coming into the race super early.

And we made the plan for the first ninety laps, we really wanted to take (the race) by the scruff of the neck, and we did that.

Ryan admitted: “It was a hard race, really long - 200 laps? 50k? I really felt it.

“But we were sitting in the top four or five for most of the race.

“That was my first time with Mark for over two years, and first time doing a race that length for three years, so I’m really happy with it.”

Robyn Stewart was beaten early in the women’s sprint, bowing out to Italy’s Miriam Vece in the first round repechage.

Ireland’s official total in the medals table now is one silver and four bronze, as Sunday’s four Irish boxing finalists still don’t know if it will be gold or silver for them.

IRISH BOXING FINALS ON SUNDAY (Irish time)

10:15 Boxing – Kellie Harrington Vs Mira Potkonen (FIN) Women’s Light -60kg

11:05 Boxing – Regan Buckley - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Light Fly -49kg

11:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) Men’s Bantam -56kg

12:20 Boxing – Michael Nevin - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Middle -75kg

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