Aoife O’Rourke remains philosophical in a world of uncertainty.
The Castlerea boxer was returning to her London hotel on Monday evening last, having fine-tuned her preparations for one of the biggest fights of her career. Then the news came — the remainder of the qualifying competition for the Tokyo Olympics had been cancelled as a result of Covid-19.
The European Elite middleweight champion was scheduled to fight Viktoriya Kebikava from Belarus in the last 16 of the 75kg competition on St. Patrick’s Day. She had ticked every box in her preparations ahead of the weigh-in on Tuesday morning. Then, in an instant, her Olympic dream was put on hold.
“The qualifiers had started so I never contemplated that they would be cancelled. I had done everything and worked very hard on the Monday to try and make the weight.
“It was so close to the fight, so it was obviously hugely disappointing. But there’s nothing I can do about it. Every other boxer is in the same boat,” she said.
While O’Rourke remains focussed on qualifying for the Toyko Olympics, which are scheduled to get underway on July 24th, she remains convinced that she will be given the opportunity to live her Olympic dream.
“There’s the world qualifiers in Paris in May but, at the moment, I can’t see them taking place.
“But I have to think that the Olympic Games are still going ahead. That’s my mindset at the moment. If I thought otherwise, I wouldn’t train. I just need a date to try and qualify,” she pointed out.
The Castlerea boxer admits that she has come to terms with last week’s disappointment, adding that she’ll probably end up fighting the same Belarusian boxer when she gets a shot at qualification.
“My opponent is in the same boat, so it’s not just me that was left disappointed last week. No one knows when we’ll get the chance. Here, we can’t train collectively at the moment, so I’m just keeping in contact with my coaches and they’re advising me what to do.
“I’m still in a good place. If they (Olympics) end up being cancelled, it won’t distract me. That might give me more time, and I’ll be a better boxer. Whenever they do take place, I’ll be ready,” she assured.