First Medal For Ireland At Euro Games

Ireland’s first medal of the European Games in Baku has been claimed in the boxing ring by Brendan Irvine. A tense encounter saw the St Paul’s Belfast light-flyweight edge out top seed and home Azerbaijan star Salman Aliadza in the tightest of split decisions, where another point the other way from any of the two judges who had scored it for the Irishman would have instead seen the Azeri win. All three judges scored the opening round for Aliadza, but a determined fightback from Irvine saw him level it up on two of the judges’ cards heading into the third and final round. Irvine was convincing in that final three minutes to be awarded the final 10 points by all three judges, taking a split decision 29-28 29-28 28-29. He now fights on Wednesday for a place in the final, having secured Ireland’s first ever medal at a European Games. There could be further success later. Ceire Smith of Cavan is in women’s flyweight action at 2:15pm against Russian Saiana Sagateva, and Clonmel super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner will be hoping a victory for him at 5:30 over Tony Yoka of France will secure an Irish hat-trick of medals. But two defeats have got Ireland’s badminton campaign underway this morning in Baku. Chloe Magee has been beaten by Estonias Kati Tolmoff 21-18 21-17 in her opening match in Group F, while in womens doubles, Sara Boyle and Rachel Darragh have been beaten in their opening match 21-15 21-15 by Finnish pair Mathilda Lindstrom and Jenny Nystrom. Men’s top seed Scott Evans plays Georgios Charalambidis of Greece in his opening this afternoon. Later, the Magee siblings face into further doubles action as Sam and Josh meet Danish duo Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the men’s doubles, while around 5:30 this evening in the mixed doubles, Chloe and Sam take on the Czech combination of Jakub Bitman and Alzbeta Basova. A combined bid of baseball and softball tops a shortlist of eight sports bidding to be included at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Squash, bowling, roller sports, climbing, surfing as well as karate and wushu are also contenders. All those sports will make a presentation to Tokyo 2020 organisers. Recommendations will be put to the International Olympic Committee at the end of September, with a final decision coming in August next year.