Three Irish athletes were in action in Tokyo this afternoon, with boxer Michaela Walsh defeated by long-time foe Irma Testa of Italy in her Women’s Feather Round of 16 bout earlier. Canoeist Liam Jegou also lost out in the semi-finals of the Canoe Slalom, finishing out in 15th place – outside of the top 10 qualifying spots. Sailor Annalise Murphy is still in action on the water, with race three just concluding where she has finished in 24th place.
After a lively opening round of the Women’s Feather (54-57kg) Round of 16 clash, boxer Michaela Walsh was defeated by long-time foe Irma Testa of Italy, losing out by unanimous decision in the end.
A 3-2 lead in the first round from Walsh saw her put Testa on the back foot throughout, weaving and ducking out of Testa’s left jab reach, and frustrating the Italian throughout to take an edge going into the second. Testa bounced back strong though, and used her height and physical presence to edge ahead going into the last round.
The final round was a must-win in order to keep Walsh’s Olympic dreams alive, but with momentum now with Testa, and despite some superb punches and footwork from Walsh, the judges ruled in favour of the Italian by unanimous decision in the end.
Speaking afterwards, a disappointed but measured Walsh said: “I felt the first round I won clear, I think it was 3-2 up, she came on in the second round and won in the third round. She had her moments and I had mine. But unfortunately, she got the nod, and I wish her all the best, and I hope she can go all the way.
“I felt the coaches had a perfect game plan coming into this. Obviously I knew her very well, and the things to be working in the first round. It’s just sometimes you don’t know what the judges are looking for. Coming into the fight I was feeling very confident. She’s very tall at the weight and very rangy, with very quick jabs. Going in, I was to keep my distance and make her miss a lot, and I was countering it, and going back into the body. It was working for me in the first round. She came out in the second and caught me with a good few jabs.
“I felt I lost the second, and in the third I felt she had her moments and I had mine. When you hear unanimous decision it’s a bit disheartening, but I was very happy with the game plan and what the coaches here were telling me to do. It was her day today.”
The only boxer in action tomorrow, Tuesday, is Aidan Walsh who will face off against Albert Ayissi Mengue (CMR) in the Men’s Welter Round of 16.
There was disappointment for Liam Jegou in today’s Canoe Slalom semi-finals, as he finished in 15th place on 208.39 – outside the top ten slots to progress to the final. Jegou got off to a strong start in the event early on and all was going to plan until a slight error pushed him through a gate in the wrong direction, costing him 50 penalties. Distracted by the mistake, Jegou picked up a further 50 penalties for another missed gate before finishing the course. Adding the 100 penalties to his time, Jegou finished in 15th position on 208.39.
Speaking afterwards, a devastated Jegou stated: “Everything was going to plan. I was enjoying myself, guiding my boat really well, I felt really powerful. Everything we talked about in our course walk was really smooth, small couple of adaptations for that slalom. Towards the end on one of the easier moves, I clipped the pole with my paddle and I went the wrong way in my head and it was game over. That’s how close and fine the margins are in sport – and in canoe slalom especially.”
Jon Mackey, Canoeing Ireland Performance Director added his thoughts: “I am gutted for him. After coming back strong yesterday the plan was to go out this afternoon and go for it, and he did. Slalom is a sport of many variables which were on show this week and on the biggest sporting stage in the world. A small mistake leads to big penalties. Liam’s story is only beginning… watch this space.”
Annalise Murphy was back on the water today in race three of the Laser Radial at Enoshima Island in Tokyo. With wind conditions slightly improved on yesterday, it was still another tricky race for the Irish athlete, who finished out the race in 24th place. She will be back in action again shortly for Race 4.
Elsewhere, it’s another busy evening in Tokyo for Team Ireland, with the sailing continuing, Rugby Sevens facing off against USA, while Nhat Nguyen makes his Olympic debut in badminton. Two swimmers will hit the pool to round out the day’s action, with Brendan Hyland contesting the Men’s 200m Butterly heats, and Ellen Walshe back in the water, this time for the Women’s 200m Individual Medley heats.
AFTERNOON RESULTS DAY THREE: JULY 26TH, 2021
Women’s Feather (54-57kg) Round of 16: Michaela Walsh (IRL) Vs Irma Testa (ITA), win for ITA in a unanimous decision.
Men’s C1 Canoe Slalom, Semi-Finals: Liam Jegou, 15th in 208.39
Laser Radial, Race 3: Annalise Murphy, 24th
DAY THREE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 26th, 2021
08:30 approx. Sailing – Annalise Murphy, Laser Radial, Race 4
10:30 Rugby Sevens – USA v Ireland, Men’s Pool C Game 2
11:20 Badminton – Nhat Nguyen (IRL) v Niluka Karunaratne (SRI) – Men’s Singles Group Play
11.20 Swimming – Brendan Hyland – Men’s 200m Butterfly Heat 2
11.45 Swimming – Ellen Walshe – Women’s 200m Individual Medley Heat 4