Irish boxers focused on Tokyo qualifiers after cutting Italian training camp short

Dominic O'Rourke, President of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, says that Team Ireland are focused on the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London next March but are keeping a close eye on developments with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Irish boxers focused on Tokyo qualifiers after cutting Italian training camp short

Dominic O'Rourke, President of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, says that Team Ireland are focused on the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London next March but are keeping a close eye on developments with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The Irish Elite squad cut short their multi-nation training camp in Assisi, Italy, and returned home on Wednesday two days ahead of schedule because of coronavirus concerns.

Twelve people are reported to have died in Italy from the virus with infections reported to be around 400, amid global efforts to contain the spread of the deadly outbreak.

Ireland trained and sparred with the host nation, Finland, France, India, Moldova, Switzerland, Romania, and Russia in Assisi. Several countries also returned early from Assisi amid concerns that they could be quarantined in Italy.

An AIBA Boxing Forum scheduled for Assisi this weekend has been cancelled because of the virus.

Ireland's 13-strong squad of eight men and five women will complete their training at the High-Performance Centre in Abbotstownm Dublin ahead of the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 which begin in London on March 13.

Seventy-seven Olympic places – 50 for men and 27 for women - will be up for grabs in the English capital.

A final World qualifier will be hosted in Paris in May. However, concerns are growing that sports events throughout the world could be shelved.

O'Rourke said: "The coronavirus is outside of our control. We don't know where it's going to go or what's going to happen. We can't control the uncontrollable, as such. We're focussed on the next preparation to get to London.

"It's worrying, but we have no control over what's going to happen with this virus. We are preparing the team to go to London.

"All we can do is prepare the team and give them every chance to qualify. The team is well looked after. Everyone is fit."

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