Aidan Walsh: 'I'll look back and say this was an amazing time in my life'

There was certainly a sense of fate having had a say, and it manifested itself in how Walsh viewed his glass as half-full
Aidan Walsh: 'I'll look back and say this was an amazing time in my life'

Michaela Wash kisses her brother Aidan after he was awarded his Olympic bronze medal in the men’s welterweight division at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo yesterday. Picture: Brendan Moran

Maybe the bronze was meant to be.

Jim McCourt had earned the same colour for Ireland in the Japanese capital back in 1964, and Niall Walsh had always told his grandson Aidan that the similarities between the two Belfast men in the ring were almost uncanny.

Maybe that helped the welterweight look past the freak injury that cost him his shot at a higher step on the podium this week. There was certainly a sense of fate having had a say, and it manifested itself in how Walsh viewed his glass as half-full.

“Jim McCourt was actually a very good friend of my granda’s,” he said. “He was always in my granda’s house. Someone actually said to me before coming out here: ‘Oh, Jim McCourt’. They always said about the styles being similar and [how] he won it in 1964.

“So he was always in the house. My daddy actually phoned me the other day and he was saying about how coincidental it was 1964, because my dad was born in 1964. It’s just coincidental. This type of stuff is written before we’re ever here.”

That positivity stands as the perfect postscript to his Olympic journey and he spoke with appreciation again for how Bernard Dunne, the high-performance boss, took him to a World Championships two years ago when he wasn’t even Irish champion.

“I just feel so lucky in life at the minute, and I’ll look back in years to come and say this was an amazing time in my life,” he said, minutes after the ceremony and with his reward now hanging around his neck. “I’m just so grateful to be standing here.”

He was upright only thanks to the assistance of two crutches and with his right foot in a support, having fractured it while celebrating the quarter-final defeat of Merven Clair which had guaranteed him the bronze.

“It was just one of them things. When I got back to the changing room we tried to do everything we could to fight, and Bernard just came at the last minute and says it was just physically impossible to fight, and that was it really.”

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