“It is three years down the road and a lot can happen,” cautioned former Irish champion Walsh.
OCI Chief Executive and double Olympic Hockey medallist Stephen Martin knows that one of the fundamentals of being a world class athlete is “concentrating on the now”. He said “yes its important to have a dream goal, but the best athletes know that you need to focus on the daily , weekly , monthly goals in order to stay on track. All you can do is control your own environment. You can’t control what other nations are doing. I know that Billy Walsh will ensure that Katie Taylor and the other potential Olympic boxers will prepare and face the challenges from emerging nations in a very methodical way.
The OCI has been running a series of Olympic planning courses for Olympic Youth and Senior athletes over the past few years in order to ensure athletes plan in a systematic way. They have been well recieved by athletes and coaches and help us to add value to their high performance programme”
Walsh agreed “We like to stay in the moment in this gym, at the moment we’re looking at the (women’s) European Championships. In three years time we’ll look at the Olympics.”
Taylor has variously been described as shy, mild-mannered, courteous, modest and soft-spoken. Never one to become giddy at the prospect of a new challenge, she first needs to qualify for the 2012 games, which is likely to be at the Barbados World Championships in 2011.
Remember Sonia O’Sullivan and the three Chinese runners who appeared from the mountain, fortified with Ma Junren’s turtle soup, and swept the Cork woman off the track.
“It’s going to be hard over the next three years. I think a lot of people feel that I’m just going to turn up and win a gold medal,” said Taylor. “All I can do is to try my best to keep going as I am and to improve as a boxer, enjoy my boxing for the next two years and, hopefully, that will lead to qualification and Olympic gold.
“Yeah, I think the last few years they’ve (China, Russia) put money into boxing anyway. I think the Chinese and the Russians have always been a force in women’s boxing and they have always been my strongest competitors as well.
“I’ve no doubt that over the next few years women’s boxing is going to improve again. It is going to be the hardest task just to qualify for the Olympics.
“In three years time you don’t know what’s going to happen. There are always going to be new girls coming up, even here in Ireland there are girls coming up, which is brilliant. I can’t afford to get complacent at all.”
“I’ve always said the Olympics are a dream and this is hopefully the start of my dream for the next three years,” she says. “I was surprised that boxing wasn’t in for the last Olympics in Beijing”
But there was no holding back on the magnitude of Taylor’s talent and the pride they have in her around the National Stadium.
“I’ve stated on a few occasions in different ways that she is the best athlete we have in this gym, not only in sporting terms but in lifestyle terms,” said Walsh with absolute clarity. “There are very, very few in this gym who are technically better. But when you talk about a boxer, you talk about the full package and the one who has the full package is Katie.”