Commonwealth Games: Walsh siblings target Gold Coast gold

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Commonwealth Games: NI brother and sister make boxing history

The last time Aidan Walsh packed his bags to go to the Commonwealth Games it was to support his sister Michaela in 2014 when she took home a silver medal.

At Gold Coast 2018, Aidan will join Michaela as the first brother and sister to box at the Commonwealths and they are determined to return to Belfast as champions.

"I know people say it's a brilliant achievement but we are not just there to make up numbers we are there to win gold medals," said Michaela.

"We have put in the work and now it is just time to go over there and do it."

Crying over spilt milk

Michaela Walsh lost to Nicola Adams by split decision in their 2014 Commonwealth Games final
Michaela Walsh lost to Nicola Adams by split decision in their 2014 Commonwealth Games final

Losing her flyweight final against Nicola Adams in Glasgow still rankles with Michaela, but she is determined to use the memory of that defeat to spur her on in Australia.

Michaela, 24, won bantamweight gold at the EU Championships in Italy last year but has now made the move to featherweight as she targets a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"When I got silver people were saying it was such a great achievement but I didn't see it that way and I felt like throwing the medal away.

"When I look back, it was a good achievement but it wasn't what I wanted and I am going over there to get what I want.

"There is no point in crying over spilt milk and what is done is done. I am want to redeem myself and take home a gold medal.

"I believe I deserve it, and not only do I believe it but I have put in the work for it so it is there for me and I am going to go over and try my best to take it home."

Sibling rivalry

Michaela may be almost four years older than her brother, but it is clear the pair's competitive nature has driven them both from an early age.

Aidan, 21, was the first to start training at the St Agnes boxing club in Belfast before his older sister persuaded their father to allow her to get into the ring too.

"I would look up to Aidan even though he's younger than me because he has always been so good.

"I have always seen the talent he had and now he's proved it and is on the elite team and I know he can win the gold medal - it's there for him.

"Even when training with each other, if I see him throwing 10 punches then I'm going to throw 12."

Aidan Walsh (2nd from right) was one of three Northern Ireland boxers to win gold at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games
Aidan Walsh (2nd from right) was one of three Northern Ireland boxers to win gold at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa

For Aidan, the fact his sister was able to blaze a trail for him through the ranks of Irish amateur boxing and onto the international stage is something he has found to be invaluable.

A gold medal winner at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, Aidan is now planning to emulate Michaela in the adult ranks.

"When I was younger, I would always have always looked up to her," he admitted.

"She was always going to tournaments when I was only a youngster, she would have been going to Europeans, World Championships and even All-Irelands so when I got to the age when I started going to them I had already been in that sort of environment and knew what to do and what it was like.

"When I was a wee bit more immature and not really taking it as seriously as I should have been, she would always put me in my place.

"Before fights, if I was doing anything stupid or running about, she would tell me to 'sit down and don't be doing this or that' and at the time I was wondering what she was talking about but as I got older and it starts becoming your career I realised I needed to be doing what she was doing."

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