Iain Weaver 2012 Olympic dream alive as Martin Ward exits

By Nabil Hassan and Paul ScottBBC South
Iain Weaver
Iain Weaver is the 2010 European Championship silver medallist

Ferndown lightweight Iain Weaver's hopes of competing at the 2012 Olympics are alive following Martin Ward's exit at the World Championships in Baku.

The Championships, which Weaver was overlooked for by GB Boxing, double up as an Olympic qualifying event.

Ward's failure to earn a place means Weaver has an lifeline for London 2012.

"Martin hasn't qualified now so hopefully they'll give me the chance at the next Olympic qualifying event [in Istanbul]," Weaver told Radio Solent.

Ward went down 21-20 to Robson Conceicao of Brazil failing to join GB Boxing squad members Tom Stalker and Luke Campbell in gaining a place at next year's Games.

The Romford lightweight will now be scrapping it out with Weaver to gain selection for the European Championships in Istanbul in March - which are the second and final Olympic qualifying event.

Weaver, 21, is hopeful of being selected for that squad ahead of Ward, having missed out on going to Azerbaijan.

"I was disappointed not to go, but I've only really stepped up in weight in the last few months so I knew it would be a tough task," said Weaver.

"I thought I had done enough because I boxed well in the build up to the squad announcement but they gave the other lad [Ward] a chance because he'd been boxing at the weight a lot longer.

The 2010 European Championship silver medallist added: "The next qualifying event in March is the last chance I'll get.

"Hopefully I should go, as I was Ward was selected by the skin of his teeth. They gave him the opportunity but he came up short, so they should give me my opportunity and give me my shot.

"Ward's been to the Europeans and Worlds and hasn't medalled in either so it would be a big blow to take if I wasn't selected."

Having seen his close friends Stalker and Campbell qualify for the Olympics, Weaver is desperate to follow suit.

"I'm delighted they've qualified," he said.

"But it's disappointing being back here knowing you could be doing the same.

"It's every young boxer's dream to compete and the Olympics and even better to do it in front of your own fans on your own patch. The Olympics have been my only focus for the past year and half now and all I'm thinking about is making that squad."

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