UPDATE: Silver lining for Anthony Ogogo as he realises Olympic dream
IN seventh heaven - Anthony Ogogo made it a 'magnificent seven' for the GB Boxing team yesterday (Friday) when he became the seventh member of the squad to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.
And today, it was a case of job done with the Olympics qualification secure as the middleweight collected a silver medal after pulling out of the final of the European Olympic qualifying event in Trabzon, Turkey with a slight injury.
The 23-year-old former Kirkley High School pupil, who has only just returned to competitive action after suffering a serious shoulder injury picked-up at last September's World Championships, said: 'To let everyone know I had to pull out of the final today, I felt a pull in my shoulder in my warm up and we took the necessary precautions.'
Rather than risking this injury in today's bout, and instead content with the realisation of a lifelong dream, there was a special message of congratulations from Carl Froch, who said on Twitter: 'Well done Ant!!! You've really done yourself proud. Hard work and dedication!'
Ogogo only needed to reach the final at the second and decisive Olympic qualifier to be guaranteed a spot at London.
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And dreams were realised in style as he booked his place with a convincing 14-7 victory over Vitalk Bandarenka of Belarus in yesterday's semi-final.
A jubilant Ogogo said: 'I am just so thrilled and relieved to have finally qualified after all the challenges I have had to overcome. I have had so much bad luck with injuries but I never lost faith in myself and have had some amazing support from the coaches and all of the back-up team that have helped me to get over my shoulder injury and be in a position to compete in this qualifier.
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'I always knew that if I got myself fully fit and free of injury then I could compete with the best in the world and I just want to thank all of the people that have helped me to do this.
'It will be a dream come true to represent Great Britain in a home Olympics and I cannot wait to walk out in that arena in London,' he added.
'It's been a long hard journey to get this far but I have qualified now so my focus is going to be all about getting back in the gym, working hard, listening to the coaches and doing everything I can to be successful in the Olympics.'
GB Boxing's Performance Director, Rob McCracken said: 'I am very pleased for Anthony who really deserves this after everything he has been through. He has had to overcome some terrible luck with injury and it is great to see that his dedication, hard work and determination have been rewarded.
'I am very proud of the whole team and to have qualified seven boxers with the chance of an eighth today is a fantastic achievement by the boxers, the coaches and all of the support staff that have each played an important part in the success we have enjoyed this week and over the last three years.'
Ogogo dominated the middleweight semi-final contest against Belarus' University World Champion Vitaliy Bandarenka from the first to the final bell.
Today's victor, Adem Kilicci, joins Ogogo in qualifying for London 2012.