Repton star destined for Olympic visit

PUBLISHED: 10:49 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010

REPTON teenager Martin Ward will attend the Beijing Olympics after receiving a special invitation to this summer s Games. Ward will travel to China with the Bethnal Green club s senior coach Tony Burns for a chance to watch the world s outstanding amateur

REPTON teenager Martin Ward will attend the Beijing Olympics after receiving a special invitation to this summer's Games.

Ward will travel to China with the Bethnal Green club's senior coach Tony Burns for a chance to watch the world's outstanding amateurs battle for Olympic gold.

The 17-year-old was handed the trip this week after he was named as one of the outstanding boxing prospects in Great Britain.

The chance to mix with the cream of British amateur talent will also provide a valuable education as Ward prepares to launch his own bid for glory in the senior ranks next season.

One of three boxing brothers - all with records of outstanding success in the colours of the Bethnal Green club - Ward is due to arrive in Beijing on August 11.

During his 11-day stay he will be training in the Olympic gym alongside Britain's highly rated boxing squad and he will then be invited to watch them in action in the competition proper.

The flyweight prospect has enjoyed a highly decorated junior career, which has seen him clinch a string of national awards as well as gold medals at the Four Nations championships and the European Cadets tournament.

He captured the national junior ABA title last month with a crushing defeat of Bolton's Chris Blinkhorn.

Ward has a world ranking of No 3 and is tipped for further medal success in October when he travels to compete in the AIBA World Youth Boxing Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Burns, who has spent 40 years as a coach at Repton, will be making his seventh trip to view an Olympic boxing competition.

His memories are highlighted by the 2000 Sydney Games, where Repton super-heavyweight Audley Harrison brought back the gold medal.

"Seeing the Olympics at first hand will be great for Martin and the other young prospects making the trip," said Burns.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the boxers and should certainly increase their enthusiasm to make their own bid for Olympic glory in 2012.

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