By Tadhg Peavoy

Adam Nolan, winner of the AIBA European Olympic Qualifying tournament, has said that as the London Games approach, nerves will begin to kick in for the dark horse to win the Olympic welterweight title.

Nolan said: “I’ve gained great support from the people of Wexford and the people of Bray. Obviously the nerves will kick-in in the build up to it, but that’s all part and parcel of it.

“Hopefully the nerves will help me perform a little bit better.”

Nolan believes that being the dark horse in the European Olympic Qualifying tournament worked for him rather than against him.

“I went out there in Trabzon with very little pressure and as Billy [Walsh] said concentrate on my performances and if they were good enough they’d get me through to the next stage so be it, and obviously they were,” he said.

“I knew with the four fights here [in the National Stadium] at the Senior Championships that there weren’t tougher out there. The four guys I beat here were top class. I knew if I went out there and performed the same way I’d have a great chance, and luckily as each fight went on I improved and improved.

“Hopefully it will be the same in London. I just want to concentrate on my performances.”

Pete Taylor, the father of Irish lightweight Katie Taylor, coaches Nolan, and the Enniscorthy boxer who works as a Garda, now based in Bray, believes he owes a lot to the former pugilist.

“Pete has brought me on a lot over the last three to four years since I became stationed in Bray. I can’t really pinpoint it but he’s instilled great belief in me. I’ve gained great confidence out of his stewardship,” Nolan sad.

“He just brought me to another level. Without Pete’s help and guidance I wouldn’t be heading to the Olympics.”

“He just brought me to another level. Without Pete’s help and guidance I wouldn’t be heading to the Olympics.”

It was after Nolan won his national final that he really felt he could go on and compete at London.

“I suppose when I won my national final here against 2008 Olympian John Joe Joyce, which was a great scrap, I thought if I go out to Turkey and perform anything can happen,” said Nolan.

“So prior to that I didn’t really think about London. London was a far cry away until I’d won my senior title. But once I’d beaten John Joe, who was a top-class opponent, I knew I’d have a great chance if I concentrated on my performances.”

Nolan is now on special leave from the Garda Síochána to pursue his Olympic dream, but prior to qualification he had to train in the off time from being on duty.

“It was tough being on shift work as well, but obviously Pete was great because if I was on nights he would train me during the day. He worked around my schedule,” said Nolan.

“Whether I trained in the morning, the afternoon or the night, he was always around in the club training myself and Katie. That was a big help.

“The night shift was 10pm to 6am, so I would go home and sleep till maybe 12pm or 1pm , and then I would get a bite to eat and go down and train with Pete at 2pm or 3pm.

“It’s only now, since I’ve become part of the high performance unit, that I get to train twice a day.

“Being off shift work now I’m eating at regular hours and getting proper sleep.

"I’d like to think preparation now will be better than it has been leading up to the nationals because of getting into a regular routine. I feel good and I’m raring to go.”