By Tadhg Peavoy
Irish flyweight Michael Conlan has revealed his unbridled joy at qualifying for the London Games.
“It’s unbelievable and it’s just across the pond. Being so close, there’s going to be so many Irish fans as well, so it’s going to be great”, said the 21-year-old from Belfast.
“I’ve been watching the Olympic Games since 2004, maybe 2000. I can’t even remember that far back. I can remember since 2004 watching Andy Lee and Amir Khan.”
However, Conlan says his burning ambition to become an Olympian was born four years ago.
“Yeah, definitely when I was watching Paddy Barnes, and Kenny Egan and Darren Sutherland win medals, it made me want to do it.”
Conlan beat Nordine Oubali in the last 16 at the 2011 World Championships to seal a place at London 2012 and realises the exceptional quality of this victory.
The St John Bosco boxer said: “It was a great fight. It was a tough fight. I was behind at one stage at the start of the first round, so I was three points down and I pulled it back. I was happy with that.”
“Go as far as possible,” Conlan said. “Win the first 30 seconds of the first round and keep winning the next 30 seconds of each round."
Conlan also revealed that the schedule for the Games is not something that intimidates him.
“You have more fights in the World Championships in less amount of time than you would in the Olympic Games,” said Conlan.
“So, I’m well capable of doing it, so hopefully I can.”
Conlan also admits he has put no limits on how far he can go in London.
“Go as far as possible,” he said. “Win the first 30 seconds of the first round and keep winning the next 30 seconds of each round.
“Anything can happen at the Olympic Games. You see favourites getting beat. You see unbelievable results happening. You see world records. You see Usain Bolt. You see the unexpected.”