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

JULY 25th, 2021: The Irish hockey team were also in action against world number one, the Netherlands, and despite a strong defensive display, lost out 4-0.

Russell White was Ireland’s first triathlete in action today, and finished out in 48th place with a finishing time of 1:54:40 for the event. Meanwhile, there was disappointment for boxer Brendan Irvine as he lost out on split decision to Carlo Palaan of the Philippines in his Men’s Fly Round of 32 clash.


Two-time Olympian Brendan Irvine put up a strong fight against Carlo Paalam from the Philippines today in his Round of 32 bout, but it just wasn’t enough, with Paalam taking the win in a split decision 4-1.

Speaking afterwards, the Belfast boxer and Irish boxing team captain stated: “I’m absolutely devastated to not win. I’ve put so much in these past three years to get here. So you can understand why it’s a bit emotional. But I’m immensely proud to be representing my country and to be captain of the boxing team. I just have to pick myself and support the rest of the team now.”

For Irvine, his Olympic journey has been plagued with injury, and despite 18 months out of the ring, in his first fight back in March 2019, he qualified for his second Olympic Games. Reflecting on that Irvine added: “If you had asked me three years ago if would I have been at the Games I would have told you no. It’s an achievement to get here, but when you’re here, you obviously want more, and to get a medal – but it wasn’t meant to be. We’ve a superb team here, incredible athletes, and to be an Olympian is something special, so you can imagine the talent in each and every athlete here.”

Next in action for the boxers today is Michaela Walsh who will compete against long-time rival Irma Testa (Italy) shortly, and will look to turn around the result from the Olympic Qualifier last month.


A late flurry of goals saw world number one side, the Netherlands, eventually break Ireland down and win 4-0 at the Oi Stadium in Ireland’s second group game today. Felice Albers had given the Dutch a strong 1-0 start but the Green Army – inspired by an Ayeisha McFerran masterclass – kept the Oranje raiders out for the guts of 40 minutes. A final quarter barrage from Malou Pheninckx, Laurien Leurink and Frédérique Matla however saw the Dutch ease home 4-0 in the end and in doing so, they matched June’s EuroHockey Championship scoreline, extending their winning streak over Ireland to 30 games, dating back to 1963.

Speaking afterwards, McFerran stated: “It’s tough to take. We defended really, really well and I’m really proud of how everyone just kept fighting right to the end. I’m disappointed with the last goal especially, I think I didn’t do myself justice on that one. But overall, the Dutch showed they are number one for a reason.”


Russell White made his Olympic debut with a 48th place finish today in the Men’s Individual Triathlon. It was an early start time for all at the Odaiba Marine Park, with the race beginning on the second attempt following a false start. The Banbridge athlete posted a finishing time of 1:54:40 for the event. 

The swim saw White exiting in 48th position, 58 seconds down on the leaders. A clean transition to the bike saw him solidify his position and a big effort was needed to stay with those around him on a technical bike course. Eight laps of 5km with 17 turns was the challenge, and White worked in a small group with eight of his competitors, moving up one position to 47th into the final transition.

White was quite isolated for most of the 10km run, with a 30-second gap to the athletes ahead, and over a minute to those behind, and while some cloud cover took the sting out of the sun, the temperature remained intense throughout the event.

Speaking afterwards White said: “I was on the back foot from the start, I didn’t get a great swim. I thought after the first lap that I could maybe bridge up to that main group but it sort of split with about 300 to go and I just didn’t get on good feet. It made for a gruelling bike in a small group and having to really work hard – not much draft, a lot of gaps. Sprinting out of all the corners in such a small group it did burn the legs out for the run.”

Reflecting on his Olympic Games debut he added: “I’m absolutely honoured to be here today and compete for Ireland in the Olympic Games -  but obviously, just not the performance I was looking for.”

Afternoon report from Team Ireland on Day Three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

JULY 26th, 2021: Boxer Michaela Walsh was in action in Tokyo this afternoon. Walsh was defeated by long-time foe Irma Testa of Italy in her Women’s Feather Round of 16 bout earlier. 


After a lively opening round of the Women’s Feather (54-57kg) Round of 16 clash, boxer Michaela Walsh was defeated by long-time foe Irma Testa of Italy, losing out by unanimous decision in the end.  

A 3-2 lead in the first round from Walsh saw her put Testa on the back foot throughout, weaving and ducking out of Testa’s left jab reach, and frustrating the Italian throughout to take an edge going into the second.  Testa bounced back strong though, and used her height and physical presence to edge ahead going into the last round.

The final round was a must-win in order to keep Walsh’s Olympic dreams alive, but with momentum now with Testa, and despite some superb punches and footwork from Walsh, the judges ruled in favour of the Italian by unanimous decision in the end.

Speaking afterwards, a disappointed but measured Walsh said: “I felt the first round I won clear, I think it was 3-2 up, she came on in the second round and won in the third round. She had her moments and I had mine. But unfortunately, she got the nod, and I wish her all the best, and I hope she can go all the way.

“I felt the coaches had a perfect game plan coming into this. Obviously I knew her very well, and the things to be working in the first round. It’s just sometimes you don’t know what the judges are looking for. Coming into the fight I was feeling very confident. She’s very tall at the weight and very rangy, with very quick jabs. Going in, I was to keep my distance and make her miss a lot, and I was countering it, and going back into the body. It was working for me in the first round. She came out in the second and caught me with a good few jabs.

“I felt I lost the second, and in the third I felt she had her moments and I had mine. When you hear unanimous decision it’s a bit disheartening, but I was very happy with the game plan and what the coaches here were telling me to do. It was her day today.”

The only boxer in action tomorrow, Tuesday, is Aidan Walsh who will face off against Albert Ayissi Mengue (CMR) in the Men’s Welter Round of 16.

Team GB athletes after today’s afternoon/evening events at Tokyo 2020


Comments from Team GB’s men’s archery team following a 5-3 defeat to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the men’s team competition. They beat Indonesia 6-0 in the previous round

Patrick Huston on the performance: “Archery is a fast and competitive game, it’s something where the gaps can be infinitesimal. We took a couple of leads from the Dutch early on but we couldn’t match them when they finished so strongly. It’s a sport of tiny margins and it’s cut throat.”

On future competitions: “I just need to grit my teeth and work harder.”


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