After three weeks of intense training at Cardiff University in the Welsh capital, 44 boxers from underprivileged countries are now all set to take to the ring at the ExCeL London and compete for Olympic medals. As part of the Road to Dream program which aims to provide athletes with the best possible preparations before major international competitions, the AIBA Road to London II was overseen by Thomas Coulter, a former Olympic Head Coach of Team USA, and his Italian Assistant Carmine 'Nino' Fracasso. All costs were covered by AIBA.
The gruelling three-week program ended on Monday 23 July with a Farewell Dinner at the Welsh National Cricket Centre organised by the Welsh Boxing Association (WABA). This morning, the athletes departed from Cardiff and travelled to the Olympic Village where they will be based for the entirety of the London 2012 Olympic Games. For all the boxers that participated, the memories of this tough but extremely beneficial training camp will live long.
Great friendships developed during the period in which the boxers were together and the opportunity to train with so many fighters from all over the world is one they will never forget.
Lots of sweat and hard work went into the first two weeks of training, with the focus on getting the participants' fitness levels to their peak and eradicating any bad habits in their techniques, before priming them to be able to challenge the best of the best in the ring. Once Head Coach Coulter had put the boxers through days of some of the hardest exercises known in the sport, the progress made by all the athletes was huge and very satisfying for all involved. Throughout their stay, the boxers also had constant access to top physiotherapists as well as any medical services they required.
The final two days of the camp were dedicated to light sessions where the boxers were free to choose their training program. The idea was to give a bit of down time to the athletes before they take part in the most important competition of their lives.
The Road to London II boxers as well as their coaches (37) were said to have been delighted with the training camp and believed that they had learnt a great deal and were now ready, raring to go and fully prepared to make their mark on the biggest stage of all, the Olympic Games. AIBA has worked tremendously hard with the Road to Dream program and there are high hopes now that the London 2012 Olympic Games will see participants of the program claim several medals.
"Thank you AIBA for the opportunity to attend another great 'Road to Dream' camp. I am very grateful for what you are doing to develop boxers from all over the globe, including me. London, here I come", declared Alexis Pritchard (60kg) from New Zealand.
Copyright © 2012 AIBA http://www.aiba.org