Morning report from Team Ireland on Day Five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

JULY 28th, 2021: Boxer Kurt Walker causes major upset in the ring. Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (UZB) v Kurt Walker (IRL), Men’s Feather Round of 16, Win for IRL 4-1 on split decision


Ireland’s Kurt Walker was on hand to deliver the big upset of the morning in Tokyo as he defeated reigning World Champion and number one seed Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan in his Men’s Featherweight Round of 16 by split decision to advance to the quarter finals.

An incredibly tough fight between the two saw Walker take the better of the opening round, as the pair tested each other on every turn, with Walker delivering some fantastic combos to put Mirzakhalilov on the back foot. The World Champion was not going down easy though and sprung back in a relentless second round, with Walker defending extremely well and landing some key blows to hold a slight edge going into the last. A superb third round display from Walker though saw him power through, upping his speed and intensity to tire out Mirzakhalilov, and pushing on to win the fight by a 4-1 split decision in the end.

Speaking afterwards, an ecstatic Walker said: It’s indescribable. I just need to get my head level again and try and relax and recover, but I am buzzing! I just tried to keep him off – feinting, jabbing, body work. I knew I was fit so I knew I could definitely do it for two rounds anyway and get the two rounds up, which I did. I knew he was going to push on strong, so I am delighted.

“I knew he is relentless. I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I have a really big heart, I really do, and I knew I could dig deep. I have the best coaching staff in the world, 100 per cent. I was delighted to see how happy they were – it brings me on, I am buzzing!

“This will be hard topped. This is the highlight of my career so far. Biggest stage in the world – beating the champion of the world – a fairytale definitely!”


Ireland produced a big second half comeback but were just held at bay by Germany, who won out 4-2 in the end, setting up a showdown on Friday with India where a victory would likely bring a quarter-final spot for the Irish.

Germany – recently installed at second in the world – led 3-0 early in the second courtesy of a double from Lisa Altenburg and one from Cecile Pieper. But two corner strikes from Lena Tice and Hannah McLoughlin had the Green Army right back in the mix going into the closing stages before a contentious Francisca Hauke goal settled the tie. Ireland now sits fourth in the group with two games to go with four teams advancing to the quarter-finals.

Speaking afterwards, Chloe Watkins stated: “Games against Germany are always quite physical and they’re quite fun too, so I think we enjoyed that game. I think 4-2 is probably not really a fair reflection, we probably deserved a point if I’m honest. One or two things didn’t go our way but I think we played really well, we came up to it, they’re world number 3 and I think it was a really good battle, we matched them in a lot of areas.

“We could have rolled over in the 4th quarter and let them come in but we didn’t, we fought hard and we knew goal difference is really important. We fought back and got two goals but unfortunately, a tough one went against us for them to get to four. They were really good goals, really well worked and it just showed really good fighting spirit to give us confidence going into the next game.

“We’re so excited for the next couple of days, it’s what we’ve been training for and waiting for for so long. The next game against India is going to be a target game, it was always going to be a big game in this group and we just really have. To recover as best we can in the next day or two. Our games against them in the past have been really close, we’ve had some good results so we have every confidence going into it to try and reach a first quarter final.”


In the Men’s Double Scull of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished fourth in their B Final, resulting in a tenth overall finish place in Tokyo today. The Irish duo had a fast start, holding joint second in the opening 500m behind the Russian Olympic Committee, with a tight battle for eighth place between themselves, New Zealand and Romania. On the line they were pipped by the Romanian crew into fourth in the heat, and tenth overall.

Team GB athletes events at Tokyo 2020


Hannah Scott won the Women’s Quadruple Sculls B Final, to finish seventh overall, with Lucy Glover, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne

Speaking afterwards, Hannah said: “In ways it was satisfying (the win).

“If we hadn’t done that today I think we would have been more unsatisfied. We pulled ourselves back to where we in the first place.

I don’t think we quite showed what we had in the first part of the regatta, but I am really proud we got ourselves to this point today and pulled us through.

For that reason I am satisfied, but hungry again I guess so onwards and upwards.

“What we learned from the regatta, is something that will live with me for the rest of my time in rowing.

If we come away with maybe a place or two higher, not saying we wouldn’t want to go for everything, but it would have been a different type of hunger we would have been leaving with.

What we have been left with, is going to drive us forward for the next three years. It is horrendous at the moment, but I think as we move forward it’ll come through.

Hopefully this result isn’t going to be our defining moment and it’s just part of the journey.

As individuals I respect these girls immensely, and I still do. Today was a team effort, we all had to show up again.

I think in terms of driving forward British sculling for the women, we can all say we are really proud and have still done that.

Hopefully we can bring it forward again, and keep punching.”


Despite qualifying in 25th spot, Patrick Huston was beaten by Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida, 7-1, as he saw his Olympic dreams ended.

And the 25-year-old admitted that falling well short of his best while on the biggest stage would be a bitter pill to swallow.

He said: “I’m pretty seriously unhappy with the way I’ve performed there. It was an underperformance.

“I’ve had some equipment issues in the past. Not being able to trust the kit to perform and be able to come in with a bank of consistent groupings over an extended period of time does detract slightly.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. When it’s at the biggest stage there is, that’s not the most enjoyable.”



National Lottery Navy White