No Silver Linings for Michaela Walsh

The taste of defeat still sours the palate of Michaela Walsh four years on.

The Belfast talent isn’t a silver lining type of person it’s win or nothing for the decorated featherweight star.

So rather than celebrate her 2018 Commonwealth Gold Coast silver medal she uses it as motivation going into the 2022 installment, which gloves off for her in Birmingham today.

2018 beaten finalist Walsh can still recall how she felt looking up at Australian Skye Nicholson, who topped the podium, rather than looking to the sky in gold medal-winning delight, and uses that feeling to drive her toward a first place finish this time around .

She recalled: “That feeling, of being so close, I’ve had it before, and I’ve said to myself I never want to have it again.

“When you’re so close it drives you to say I want to be coming out on top of this and on top of the podium.

“That gives you that little push when you’re in the last round and have nothing left.”

The European Union, Games and Championship medal winner, who also won Commonwealth silver in Glasgow in 2014 after defeat to Nicola Adams in the flyweight final, won’t just be satisfied with gold for herself, the 29-year-old will also want her brother Aidan Walsh to do well.

The Walsh siblings are extremely close and Michaela is her little brother and Olympic medal winner’s biggest fan. Being able to compete alongside him, like she did at the Tokyo Olympics is special for her, but she points out that winning together is even better.

“What’s special for me is being able to go with my brother,” the Emerald BC fighter continued.

“That almost means more than the medal itself.

“Being able to train with each other and be on the same team, we drive each other on and for both of us to come away with a silver medal [in Gold Coast] is something to look back on and be proud of.

“It would be amazing to go one better this time and get a gold which would be a dream come true. It’s something we both visualize a lot.”

As close as the pair are now, Michaela suggests that Aidan may have thrown in the towel if it wasn’t for his sister.

“We’ve always been best friends because Aidan started boxing first and I just followed suit,” she said.

“I just wanted to do it because he was doing it but then I had a little bit more success at an early age and I think that drove him on.

“I kept him on track and told him he had to be training if he wanted to win.

“So that helped keep him in boxing, him seeing how good I was doing, he sort of wanted it for himself.”

The persistence paid off, and the pair made history last year when they became the first brother and sister to box at the same Olympic Games.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Walsh hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

Walsh speaks of an ever-growing winning culture within boxing after years of national success and she hopes that can offer confidence to the latest cohort representing Team Northern Ireland.

“It’s in our DNA,” she said. “It’s something everyone has. It’s hard to explain. It’s like a Warrior DNA.

“Boxing is just such a big sport, and it means a lot to a lot of people.

“Everyone on the team has that sort of mindset that they want the best and that’s why we’re so successful.

“It feels amazing to be a part of, the talent we have is phenomenal.”

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