herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Ward wants Rio gold

Disappointment spurs Ward on to win for his family and Ireland

Joe Ward
Joe Ward

Joe Ward has plenty to motivate himself in his quest to bring home gold from Rio.

Having missed out on qualification for London 2012, Joe watched his team-mates achieve the success he dreamt of as a youngster.

"I've always wanted to box in the Olympic Games," he says. "Not going to London stung me, because I'd been so successful while growing up. It was a step back for me but I kept my head down and stuck at it. I said, 'My chance will come again'. And, thankfully, when it did, I took it."

There probably won't be any surprises in the draw in Rio for Ireland's decorated light heavyweight.

"I've boxed most of the guys," he says. "I was only 17 when boxing in my first major senior championships. I was only 17 when qualifying for London. People expected so much from me. It was disappointing."

Adding to his natural aura of confidence is his belief in his coaching set-up.

"We've a great team around us," he says. "We all have a pathway and we're preparing like champions. We're going to give ourselves the best opportunity to become champions."

Although former Head Coach Billy Walsh went to America, Joe is adamant he's still getting the best medal-winning coaching.

"Billy was a wonderful servant for the sport. He made his decision. We have to knuckle down and be successful at what we want. We have the coaches and staff here to push us on and to be successful. It's disappointing but Billy has his targets and we have ours."

Joe (22) has a family to bring a medal home to.

"I have two kids," he says. "It makes you realise what life's all about, when you bring two kids into the world and they're part of your success. It's a pleasure to be a father who's doing so well and showing his young kids what sport's about and what you need to do to be successful."

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