Nicola Adams is Ready To Face Stiff Competition
Nicola Adams has been promised stiff competition in the race for Commonwealth Games qualification by England team-mate Lisa Whiteside.
The 28-year-old Preston fighter is ranked second in the world at 57 kilograms but the continued absence of her weight category at the biggest events has forced her to drop down to 51kg.
That puts her in direct competition with Olympic champion Adams for the one place available on the English team in Glasgow and on the British team for the Rio Games in 2016.
Whiteside, who on Thursday was named as a Commonwealth Games England ambassador for kit suppliers Kukri, told Press Association Sport: "I would have qualified for London if 57kg had been in the Olympics.
"I had to make the decision of where to go next and, with the help of the nutritionist and good advice, I went all the way down to 51kg.
"It's tough at times but as long as I'm strict with myself and stay away from the cake I'm okay.
"Nicola's obviously very talented, she's the Olympic gold medallist. But there's three years until the next Olympics and I've already improved so much within a few months so where am I going to be next year?
"Yes I have got the competition in Nicola and I am the underdog but it's not going to stop me pushing myself all the way. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but you've always got to aim for the best.
"That's what I did for the European Union Championships and I got that gold medal."
Whiteside's optimism is driven by the improvements she has made since becoming a full-time boxer in May.
Prior to then, she had to fit training around a full-time job as a police officer.
The results have come immediately, with Whiteside winning gold at 54kg at the European Union Amateur Championships and then claiming victory at 51kg at a competition in Poland.
"Within a month I went to the European Unions and came home as the champion," she said. "I was over the moon and to do that so quickly gives me the confidence to know that I can keep going forward.
"I was trying to train like a full-time athlete while doing 24-hour shifts and it was quite tiring. Now to have top coaches pushing me and working on all my different abilities is just fantastic."
Adams was one of the stars of the London Olympics and women's boxing made a hugely successful first appearance at the Games.
But the disappointment for Whiteside and her fellow fighters is that the disparity in opportunities for female and male athletes will continue in Rio.
The International Amateur Boxing Association had hoped the IOC would increase the number of events for women, but it is set to stay at three compared to 10 for the men.
It is the same at the Commonwealth Games, and Whiteside said: "You would think from the publicity and the backing we got at the Olympics they would have increased it, even if it was just to five categories.
"It would have helped promote female boxing more and get more people involved. There is a big difference there and it does need to come a bit closer.
"Understandably it's very new and it does need to build up but I know there's hundreds of boxers out there just in Great Britain. We saw in the Olympics what a good standard it is. It is disappointing."
The next big test for Whiteside will come at the European Championships in May, where her credentials for the Commonwealth Games team will be really tested.
She will have an extra source of motivation having lost her father to cancer just before the European Unions.
"The day he passed away I promised I was going to get him a gold medal," she said.
"It was an emotional time for me. To have got that gold under those pressures even gives me more confidence.
"Time does heal. I've just got to keep going now for my dad. I know he's there on one shoulder pushing me all the way."
2 many tuff pros @ that wt & @ 28 she's behind from jump...best she stays amateur...couldn't c her vs Ava Knight...Post a Comment/View More User Comments (1)