Rosie Eccles taking inspiration from hero Andy Murray in pursuit of Olympic boxing gold

by Admin
The Independent

Rosie Eccles will be gunning for more success at Paris 2024 (Getty Images)

Rosie Eccles knows more than most about resilience and hopes both she and kindred spirit Andy Murray can crown their journeys back from the brink with Olympic medals at Roland Garros.

The boxer, 27, will represent Team GB in the welterweight division (-66kg) at Paris 2024 having battled back from a Covid-inflicted attack on her nervous system which left her unable to dress herself.

She has since caught Covid on three further occasions but insists she is ready to take on the world in the ring having booked her place with bronze at last year’s European Games.

Eccles’ selection has now been officially ratified by the British Olympic Association (BOA) and if the Welsh fighter makes it to the medal rounds, she will compete at the iconic home of French tennis.

Whether Murray will also do so remains unconfirmed but Eccles has taken heart from the story of the two-time Olympic champion as she prepares for her own big stage bow.

“I’m not someone who has many role models but he is definitely one,” she said. “His grit and determination is really inspiring. I love the way he plays and chases the ball down, I can be a bit like a dog with a bone sometimes so I can relate to that.

“I’ve always looked up to his mentality. I think a lot about how strong he is to have come back from what he has been through. I have always had setbacks myself. I got turned away from boxing gyms as a kid, I’ve had serious injuries, but I have built so much resilience.

“I truly believe I can deal with anything. I’ll be ready to go come the Olympics and I have that inner confidence I can make it happen when it matters. I’m excited, there’s a lot of pressure on it and it’s so hard to get gold. But I know if I turn up and bring my best, I can do it.”

Rosie Eccles took gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 (Getty Images)

Known as ‘right arm Rosie’, Eccles missed out on Tokyo qualification before her Covid nightmare and had to watch on from the other side of the world as long-time sparring partner Lauren Price soared to the top of the podium.

The Commonwealth champion feels she has been misquoted in the past with talk of stepping out of her compatriot’s shadow but remains fiercely determined to write her own story this summer.

“She has passed that torch and hopefully it is my time now,” she said. “I just want to focus on me. Lauren’s time was Tokyo and good on her, she went and grabbed it with both hands. But this is my Olympics and it’s up to me to go and do the same.

“It means so much more having missed out last time. I know people say this a lot but I think certain things are just meant to be. At the time, it felt so unfair – and I’m not normally someone who says things like that. But it reinforced how much it meant to me. I’ve put my body through three years of hell in pursuit of this goal and it will all be worth it if I bring home gold.”

The proud Welshwoman who ‘always fights with the dragon on my chest’ is set to benefit from Aldi’s Nearest & Dearest programme in Paris. The initiative helps maximise support and minimise potential distractions for athletes so that they can focus on their performance and make the most of the unique opportunity to compete on one of the world’s largest stages.

Rosie Eccles is hopiung to emulate compatriot Lauren Price, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo (PA)

The natural order would suggest Eccles will follow Price into the professional ranks after her maiden Olympics but she is not allowing her focus to slip.

“I’ve always been made more for the pro game,” she said. “I’m a powerful puncher and have a high work rate. But I don’t want to look beyond the summer, an Olympic Games has been my dream since I was eight.

“Everyone asks me ‘what next’ but I haven’t even gone to the Olympics yet, so I’m not making any decisions. I’ve put so much work in to get to this point, I’m just going to go out and enjoy it.”

Team GB boxing squad for Paris 2024 Olympic Games:

Women’s boxing:

Charley Davison – Bantamweight (-54kg)

Rosie Eccles – Welterweight (-66kg)

Chantelle Reid – Middleweight (-75kg)

Men’s boxing:

Lewis Richardson – Light-middleweight (-71kg)

Pat Brown –Heavyweight (-92kg)

Delicious Orie –Super-heavyweight (+92kg)

Aldi are proud Official Partners of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, supporting all athletes through to Paris 2024

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