Cuban boxers heading to district

George Mawhinney, Banbridge Boxing Club tresurer and Anne Murphy, secretary, along with Council chairman Junior McCrum make plans for the visit by the Cuban Olympic Boxing team to the town in the run up to the Olympics. INBL25-CUBA
George Mawhinney, Banbridge Boxing Club tresurer and Anne Murphy, secretary, along with Council chairman Junior McCrum make plans for the visit by the Cuban Olympic Boxing team to the town in the run up to the Olympics. INBL25-CUBA

THE Cuban boxing team, who are in Belfast this month ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be taking time to out of their busy training schedule to visit Banbridge Leisure Centre on Tuesday 10 July from 3pm to 5pm.

Members of the public are invited to come along to this event and watch members of Banbridge Boxing Club show the Cuban Olympic athletes just how powerful a punch they pack.

Banbridge Boxing Club is one of just four boxing clubs in Ulster - the other three being in Belfast (Holy Trinity, Monkstown and Glengormley) - to be bestowed this honour. Credit has to go to ABA World Boxing Referee and Judges Secretary, Pat McCrory, who with the full backing of Sport NI, helped attract top teams to Northern Ireland.

This is also a major coup for Banbridge Leisure Centre. Banbridge Boxing Club made a successful application to the London Organising Committee in 2006 to host such an event at this sports venue. After undergoing a rigorous audit that involved a lengthy site visit by Sport NI, Banbridge Leisure Centre exceeded all expectations, paving the way for the London Organising Committee to approve the forthcoming event.

Banbridge Boxing Club Chairman Stephen Doyle expressed his delight saying: “It’s a great honour for the club, the sport and the district to welcome the Cubans to Banbridge. Plans are well underway to make this unique event a very memorable experience for all concerned, with a good mix of sparring, training and entertainment. I really hope the public comes out in force to support this event and show how warm and welcoming we as a community are.”

Council Chairman Junior McCrum, who is a big fan of boxing, added: “Welcoming the Cuban boxing team to our area will hopefully inspire local boxers to achieve their best and whet local people’s appetite for the London 2012 Games. Attracting top athletes to Banbridge Leisure Centre is testament to the high standard of our sports facilities. The Cubans are traditionally known as the best boxers in the world, so it’s an amazing achievement to have them training at Banbridge Leisure Centre.”

Cuba has dominated world amateur boxing for over three decades and the Caribbean island has amassed 40 gold medals at the Olympics since 1972.

Eight other countries have also confirmed that they will hold pre-Games training camps in Northern Ireland.

The Chinese Olympic men’s and women’s artistic gymnastic teams will train at Salto National Gymnastics Centre in Lisburn. The Australian Olympic boxing team will train in the Greater Belfast area and athletics teams from Qatar, Sudan, Egypt and Kuwait will also set up camp. The Jordanian Paralympic team will train at the Antrim Forum.

For further details about the Cuban boxing team’s visit to the district, contact Banbridge Leisure Centre on 4062 8800. Admission to this event is free.