Beddington boxer Edwards’ Olympic dream is at an end

Charlie Edwards: missed out on Olympic qualification at the last hurdle

Disappointment, with 100 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, for one local hopeful, Beddington boxer Charlie Edwards.

The 19-year-old, a European bronze medal-winner at light-flyweight last year, needed to reach the semi-finals of this week’s European championships, being staged in Trabzon, Turkey, to secure qualification for the London Games.

But a tough draw against Bulgaria’s Aleksander Aleksandrov saw Edwards lose the bout 17-12.

“All I can say is heart broken my Olympic 2012 dream has come to an end,” Edwards tweeted last night. “It’s only the beginning, 2016 here I come.”

Boxing at the Olympics has been a long-held ambition for Edwards, whose father Lawrence built a training ring in his back garden to help him progress. “I started boxing at 11, to keep fit and lose weight as I started getting chunky,” Edwards has said.

“A couple of months down the line I realised I had a bit of talent and I got into wanting to fight, on the club shows in Croydon. I started at Roundshaw amateur club. I remember my first bout with a boy called Jake Henderson at 46 kilos.

“From day one we’ve always strived for big things. I won my first national title in 2007 at 14 at 38 kilos. Then I went to the European Schoolboy Championships in Portsmouth and I got a gold there. From then, my dad always said about the London Olympics: ‘We can be there if you just carry on what you’re doing, you’re on top of the game now. You’ve just got to put in the training and be dedicated.’ From that day I’ve just strived.”

Since his promotion to the Great Britain Boxing “podium squad” after winning an ABA title last May, Edwards now divides his time between the national training centre at Sheffield and the gym off the Old Kent Road at the famous Lynn amateur boxing club.

This set-back will at least allow Edwards to re-group over the course of the next four years. He has been boxing in the lowest competition weight category, light-flyweight, or 49kg – less than 7st 10lb – for the past 18 months or so – a time when most teenagers are growing. Because of the arcane Olympic qualifying system, and with just one boxer per nation allowed, Edwards could not qualify at one weight and box at the Olympics at another. Now, he will have time to grow into his mature frame.

Not, you suspect, that that will take the edge of his disappointment at missing out on competing at the Games in his own home city.

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