BOXING: European Schools Championships

Archibold lands Schools Euro gold for Ballybrack

by Jonny Stapleton
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Ella Archbold proved herself ready to take over the family business as she made history for her ‘family club’ in Slovenia last week.

The young Dub produced four brilliant wins to finish first in class at the European Schools Championships and step onto the top of the 46kg podium.

The precious international gold came in her first International tournament and was a first for her club Ballybrack BC.

“We are a small club, a family club, so it’s fantastic for Ella personally and for all those in the club. It’s our first major international gold and we are so proud of Ella,” Ballybrack’s Paul O’Rourke tells Gazette Sport.

“All her uncles boxed, her Grandfather gives us a dig out at the club, she is a great kid and everyone is delighted for her.”

One of three Irish gold medal winners in the tournament, Archbold, who can compete at schools level again next year, came from left field to impress her way to gold. However, the success has been anything but of the overnight kind.

“She’s been down with us since she was just six. A lot of work has gone in to win the Irish title and to medal at European level. She is so dedicated for a kid her age. She trains five nights a week. If she isn’t down the club she is doing road work or off somewhere sparring. She really puts the work in and strives to be the best she can do.”

Although the best at her age and weight in Europe’s success isn’t all down to hard work. Natural talent also plays a part, something O’Rourke points out was on display in a sensational final win over the bullish Armenian.

“I think she is the best natural talent in the club since John Paul Kinsella. That touch of natural talent helped her win gold. You could see it in the last round of the final.

“She didn’t panic after getting the point deducted, she got on her toes and check hooked right and left. That was class, that’s the kind of thing you can’t really teach.”

Like it is with every European Schools Championship medal winner, there will be an element of ‘star of the future’ talk surrounding Archbold.

However, keen to ensure the starlet enjoyed the moment Ballybrack ensured a large crowd welcomed her home at the airport and got some star names, including former middleweight world champion Andy Lee, to help celebrate at a party on Monday night.

O’Rourke also points out that underage success is not always a guarantee you have an Olympian on your hands.

“If she progresses at the rate she has she’ll have a great chance of being a good elite fighter. There is no doubt she has ambitions to reach the top and it would take a very good girl to beat her at the moment. We would have high hopes for her but look she is still young. You generally wait until 15, there might be a growth spurt there, some may fall away or find other interests. Let’s let her enjoy this gold and this brilliant achievement.”

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