McGoldrick wins Wales’ first London Olympic gold at the test event
Gary Baker on 21/12/2011
There is already one Welshman who has had a London Olympic Games gold medal hung around his neck - just a shame that Sean McGoldrick won't be there for real in ten months time.
The 20-year-old from Newport, who was upgraded to 2010 Commonwealth Games bantamweight gold medallist earlier this year from silver, was part of the Olympic Test event which took place in November.
And, to prove his undoubted ability, McGoldrick beat the Athens Olympic Games silver medallist Worapoj Petchkoom, of Thailand, in the final to secure another gold to add to his collection.
McGoldrick won't be fighting next year, despite his good friends Andrew Selby and Fred Evans already being named among the five boxers so far in the British squad.
But he had a great taste of the big time when winning the Olympic Test event at London's ExCel Centre.
McGoldrick said: "It was great being there. It is huge and they did everything they would do at the Olympics itself. When I won, I stood on the podium and got the medal hung around my neck and then they played the National Anthem."
It was not an easy contest for the top prize either as Petchkoom fought tooth and nail to beat the Welsh ace.
McGoldrick added: "It was a good fight. He was very strong and he started trying to out-box me so I took the fight to him.
"I got a few early points in which made him come at me and I dragged him into my type of fight. He was tough, very physical, very strong and it turned into a really good fight.
"It was brilliant there. It was a fantastic venue and very well organized. Nothing was left behind and no corners were cut."
He may not get his chance in 2012 but the Test event has certainly given McGoldrick a taste of what he could expect if he makes the British team in four years time when the Olympics head to Brazil's wonder city Rio de Janerio.
For now, he will just keep himself ticking over in 2012 before building towards his 2014 Commonwealth Games title defence in Glasgow.
He added: "2012 will just be another learning year for me. It is the experience which is the most important thing in boxing, to get as much as possible, and then go to 2014 in Glasgow.
"I won't have a chance to do anything big until after the Olympics but there are always small, odd tournaments where one or two of the bigger names will be and it is always good to pitch yourself against them and claim a few more ranking points.
"I still feel I'm very young at 20 but that is what I'm trying to do, just hammering the nails in and keep people talking about me and building myself that way.
"One day, I'd like to turn professional and, to be a decent professional, you need to have a good following and be very disciplined so I'm trying to learn all of that too.
"My main focus at the moment is to focus on the amateurs. Whenever I'm ready, whenever that is, I want to turn professional and be world champion, which is obviously the dream you have when you first walk in through the door of the gym and start boxing."
It has taken McGoldrick ten years to get this far and, while he is rapidly climbing the amateur ladder, he admits there is still a lot to do.
So after a fantastic 2011, with his gold medal upgrade from the Delhi Commonwealths and beating such a big name in the Olympic Test event, it is frustrating for him to have not a great deal ahead for the next 12 months.
And, that scenario also lends itself to the temptation to lean off the training for a while.
Not so, however. McGoldrick said: "Those big tournaments are what drive you and are your main focus. Everything around the year is based on preparing for that.
"But that won't stop me from focusing. I will stay focused and keep winning, because winning is the key for me.
"There is still plenty of tournaments to keep me focused and training. Sometimes boxers can overdue things but it is just about keeping nice and chilled out and take things as they come. Keep nice and steady and eventually they will come."
It is all planning, running, strength work and rounds sparring in the gym to keep in shape.
But does it get frustrating when he is around the gym watching professional Lee Selby preparing for his next big challenge and brother Andrew getting into gear for the London Games?
"Yes it does but a few weeks ago, that was me because I was the centre of attention, going away and all the focus of the gym was on me.
"Now I've come back with my gold medal and all the focus of the gym is on the other boxers. They will win their titles and their gold medals and that is how the gym works.
"When Lee and Andrew come back, I'll be preparing for my next fight and it just works in a good cycle like that."
When McGoldrick was just a youngster toddling off to nursery school in Newport, the hopes of British Olympic boxing was to get as near as possible to any medal.
But the achievements of people like Sydney Olympics super heavyweight gold medallist Audley Harrison and 2004 Athens lightweight silver medallist Amir Khan changed all of that perception.
In Beijing 2008, Nottingham middleweight James DeGale won gold, while Tony Jefferies returned with a bronze light heavyweight medal and David Price did the same as Jefferies among the super heavyweights.
Now expectations are high for a lot more medals, with Evans being one of the big British hopes.
McGoldrick said: "In the years gone by, we were lucky to qualify two or three boxers for the Olympics. Now, we will be unlucky not to qualify a full side.
"We have already qualified five and there is still one more qualifying tournament to go, so we are more than capable of qualifying a full side.
"With the medal side of things, if you had one bronze medal, the whole of the UK would have been happy.
"But now it is a home Games and the expectations rise. I think the official target is to meet Beijing and I think we are more than capable of getting more. It would not surprise me if we came back with six or seven gold medals, let along silver or bronze.
"I've seen the boys around and I think they have as good a chance as anyone. Amir Khan, I think, was the only boxer to go over there (Athens) and win a medal and, when he came back, he was a celebrity like David Beckham.
"That was not heard off before and since then, we have been striving off that success."
And it would be something if not just the UK but Wales came away from the ExCel Centre next year with a couple of gold medals.
But, for McGoldrick, his time, he hopes, will come in Rio. Until then, it is about targeting the dream and going for that Olympic gold in four years time. At the present rate, he is on the right course to achieve it.
back to article index