The eight-time national champion was looking to end Ireland’s 16-year wait for a boxing gold since Michael Carruth’s triumph in Barcelona.
“I tried 100 per cent. He got the lead, a silly lead at the start of it. I was still asleep,” said Egan. “I’m disgusted with myself for that. That’s my only regret in the whole competition, the first round, but I gave it everything I had in the last three.”
When the bell ended the fight Egan sunk to his knees, his dream was over but the consolation was a superb silver.
“In the second I thought I was leading and then as the start of the third I scored two shots, left hand, right hook and they scored them in his favour so he was getting credit for my hard work but it was a busy fight, tough fight for both of us and he came up on top in the scores but deep down in my heart of hearts I thought I’d won the fight but that’s sport at the end of the day,” said the Neilstown fighter.
“He caught me with a couple of good shots, I caught him. Body shots as well that probably didn’t score. But I’m not going to start making excuses. I’ve had a great campaign. I want to thank all the supporters here and at home. That’s it, that’s the end of the fairytale for now.”
It was the end of a remarkable journey for the 27 year old.
He added, “All the way back in April it was my goal to qualify for the Olympics and when I got here it was all about new targets, about performing on the biggest stage at the Olympic Games and I feel as though I’ve done that. I’ve boxed out of my skin in all of my fights, it’s been a busy two weeks and I’ve given 100%. On the day he’s been given the decision and there’s nothing I can do about that, all I can do is control what goes on in the ring, not around it. He’s Olympic champion, I’m second best which is heartbreaking.”
Egan hasn’t ruled out continuing on his amateur career, maybe even all the way to London “I’m captain of the Irish team, I’m proud to be and in four years time, who knows, maybe I’ll still be captain. I haven’t signed anything yet, I love the amateur game, that’s what I’m all about and hopefully there’s a couple of younger lads in the team that will stay amateur and they could still be here in 2012. I’m an Olympic silver medallist but I still wanted that gold medal. I was in a position to get it but it slipped though my fingers.”
The atmosphere inside the Workers’ Gymnasium was electric as the small group of vociferous Irish supporters at times out-shouted the thousands of Chinese.
They cheered Belfast’s Paddy Barnes who was on the podium to receive his bronze medal in the light-flyweight division. Navan’s Darren Sutherland picked up his bronze on Saturday for finishing third in the middleweight division. All five Irish fighters, the three medallists and John Joe Nevin and John Joe Joyce were all beaten by the eventual gold medallist in their weight division.
Egan summed up the Olympics from an Irish point of view, “I think it shows that we’re up there with the best and it takes the best to beat us. The young lads performed brilliantly out here, getting beaten by the winners, it’s not as if we were getting beaten by guys who would lose their next fight. Overall we’ve produced some great performances. It’s been sixteen years coming, getting medals, we’ve fought with great courage and pride.”