Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 3°C
INPHO/Donall Farmer Taylor with Michael Ring TD and Adam Nolan at yesterday's opening.
# Home improvement
€300k transformation gives Katie a proper training base - and toilets - for Road to Rio
Ireland’s Olympic champion was in Bray yesterday for the re-opening of Bray Boxing Gym.

IT’S A BOXING club fit for a champion — and one which will hopefully be worth its weight in gold.

Katie Taylor cut the ribbon on Bray Boxing Gym yesterday following its €300,000 transformation from “tin shed” into state-of-the-art facility.

And Ireland’s golden girl joked: “We feel privileged now that we actually have toilet facilities!”

It’s a far cry from the basic conditions Taylor prepared in as she won her Olympic title — and hopefully it will make life that little bit easier on the Road to Rio.

There was shock when Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited in the run up to London 2012 and discovered that Taylor, then a three-time world champion, was training in a club without a toilet or shower.

Instead the nearest facilities for female boxers were located a couple of hundred metres down the road in a nearby pub.

Now the ramshackle gym in Bray Harbour has been completely overhauled and turned into “the best equipped club in the country,” according to Taylor’s father and coach Pete who has been involved since its founding in 1995.

The bottom floor is kitted out with punching bags and speedballs as well as a full-sized ring.

Upstairs there is a fully-equipped strength and conditioning room as well as new changing rooms for both men and women.

“When we first got this gym it was basically a tin shed,” she said. “When we used to come in during the winter it was freezing. They were terrible conditions to be training in.

“It does make training a bit easier. You are not dreading coming down here in the cold like we were before.

It’s long overdue. It took a few World titles, a few Europeans and an Olympic medal to get this — but we are delighted. It was definitely worth the wait.

“I think it was very frustrating at times. We were pushing to get this done. But I don’t want to be negative about it because this is a very positive day for the club and we are delighted. We are very grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.”


Taylor trains after some refurbishments to the club in 2012 (INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

The redevelopment was funded by a €190,000 grant from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and €100,000 from Bray Town Council.

Cllr Tracy O’Brien, the Cathaoirleach of Bray Town Council, was present at yesterday’s civic ceremony as was Michael Ring, Minister of State for Sport and Tourism, and Taylor’s Olympic team-mate Adam Nolan who trains alongside her in Bray.

“Luckily enough I’ve been to 12 or 14 different countries and this is better than any gym I’ve been in,” Nolan said.

“It’s absolutely state of the art. It’s been decked out to the last really. I’m just looking forward to availing of it over the next few years now, please God.”

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The upgraded surroundings will take a little bit of time to get used to, Nolan joked.

The first couple of days here. I was going out through the front door because I was so used to using the toilet outside.

They had to call me back and say ‘listen, there’s toilets upstairs now, you don’t need to go outside any more.’

He added: “The novelty won’t wear off on this for a long, long time.”

The club has more than doubled its members since reopening its doors. Taylor and Nolan train there twice most days — once in the morning in a dedicated session with Pete and then again in the evening with the rest of their clubmates.

With both hoping to defend their national senior crown next month, and with Taylor bidding for a remarkable sixth European title and fifth World Championship gold later this year, a lot of hard hours will go in in their new surroundings.

“It’s a legacy now for the people of Bray,” Pete Taylor said.

“When I finish of boxing, this will be here no matter what. It’s great.

“It’s taken four world titles, five European titles and an Olympic gold to get here so fair play to everybody, they all came on board in the end.”

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