Ter­rific trio set for Gold Coast

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Thom­son

Three local boxers are go­ing for gold in the Gold Coast after be­ing con­firmed as be­ing part of Team Scot­land at next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games.

Cle­land ABC’s Stephen Newns (pic­tured be­low) will join 2014 Games vet­er­ans Reece Mc­Fad­den and Keir Hardie ABC’s Aqeel Ahmed in the squad.

Stephen’s coach at Cle­land ABC Ron­nie Black­burn said: “All the kids at our club want to fol­low in Stephen’s foot­steps. He trains hard and is re­ally ded­i­cated to box­ing.

“His hand speed and foot­work are phe­nom­e­nal and his ring trick­ery re­ally causes fight­ers’ prob­lems. He was young when he started but already has 40 or 50 fights un­der his belt.

“He’s still only 19 and we hope we can get him some ex­tra fund­ing to try and get­ting pre­pared as best we can for the Games.”

Aqeel con­tin­ued his great run of form by win­ning the re­cent Tam­mer tour­na­ment in Fin­land, beat­ing good friend Reece in the fi­nal.

And be­ing one of only three vet­er­ans from Glas­gow 2014, Aqeel feels ex­tra re­spon­si­bilty to bring home a medal from Aus­tralia.

He said: “I was over the moon to be se­lected.

“I n Glas­gow I was one of the younger guys in the team but it’s just my­self, Reece and Scott For­rest left from Glas­gow. It’s a re­ally young team. “We’ve got a tar­get of five medals which is high so I’m hop­ing we all get a good draw. “I’m go­ing there to win.” De­spite his loss to Aqeel in Fin­land, Mother­well’s Reece will go into the Games look­ing to add to the bronze he picked up in Glas­gow. Also in­cluded in the squad are for­mer Springhill ABC fighter Scott For­rest and Hamil­ton’s Vicky Glover be­com­ing the first Scot­tish woman to be se­lected for a Com­mon­wealth Games in the sport. All nine squad mem­bers will be hop­ing to em­u­late the suc­cess of Ne­warthill’s Char­lie Flynn who struck gold in Glas­gow to de­light of the home fans. Box­ing Scot­land in­terim CEO Fraser Walker said: “We have much to live up to fol­low­ing one of our most suc­cess­ful ever Com­mon­wealth Games per­for­mances at Glas­gow 2014.

“I am de­lighted and thank­ful that the Com­mon­wealth Games Se­lec­tion panel has shown faith in us and con­firmed the se­lec­tion of nine boxers at this stage.

“We have wit­nessed de­ter­mi­na­tion and courage from all the boxers in the world’s tough­est tour­na­ments through­out the se­lec­tion pe­riod and our fo­cus now turns to en­sur­ing that our boxers de­liver to very best of their abil­ity when the Games be­gin.”

Go­ing to the Com­mon­wealth Games is be­com­ing a fam­ily tra­di­tion for the Newns fam­ily.

As Stephen is get­ting set to go to the Gold Coast Games next year, his dad, Stephen Snr, has already ex­pe­ri­enced a Games down un­der hav­ing been part of the Scot­land coach­ing team in Mel­bourne in 2006.

The Mel­bourne Games were a suc­cess­ful one for Scot­land with 11 golds in­clud­ing Kenny An­der­son bat­tling to the top of the podium in the ring.

Nine­teen-year-old Stephen hopes he can have just as suc­cess­ful a time.

He said: “I can re­mem­ber just start­ing putting the gloves on and mess­ing around in the gym and see­ing the Games on TV. Now it’s my turn. My dad has been there from the start train­ing me and he’s de­lighted. Both him and my mum have al­ways sup­ported me.”

Wel­ter­weight Stephen already has in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence hav­ing represented Scot­land at a num­ber of tour­na­ments.

He be­lieves that ex­pe­ri­ence will come in handy at the Games es­pe­cially in a di­vi­sion which is al­ways highly com­pet­i­tive.

He added: “I’ve come across some of the wel­ter­weights already this year and I’m con­fi­dent who­ever I’m up against.”

Fin­land vic­tory Aqeel Ahmed

2014 vet­eran Reece Mc­Fad­den

Young team The Scots squad has an em­pha­sis on youth

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