11:26am Tuesday 8th April 2014
EBBW Vale’s Ashley Brace will be among the first women boxers to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games after she got the nod from selectors, writes Andrew Penman.
The 22-year-old Torfaen Warriors fighter will be one of two women to wear the Welsh vest for the first time in the Games in Glasgow this summer.
Brace has been picked ahead of 2011 European Championships silver medallist Lynsey Holdaway after winning a split decision against her rival in the 51kg final at the Welsh Elite Championships in Cardiff.
The Welsh Amateur Boxing Association Performance Commission met last Thursday to ratify the nominated team to go forward for Glasgow 2014 and the boxers were all then notified of the decision.
The official announcement of the team is not due until April 17 but Brace, who previously boxed out of the Heads of the Valleys club, has been informed that she will be in the travelling party.
“Ashley is training with the Great Britain squad in Sheffield this week and she’s over the moon to be going to Glasgow,” said Torfaen Warriors coach Simon Weaver.
“We are all delighted for her and it’s great for the club as it’s the first time any of our fighters will be going to the Commonwealth Games.
“She shocked Lynsey in the finals and I think she’ll do well in the summer.
“And she’s only 22 so this experience will hopefully stand her in good stead for the next Commonwealths and for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.”
The celebrations may have to be put on ice, however, as the Argus understands that Holdaway intends to appeal against the selection of Brace this week.
Brace’s fellow Torfaen fighter Becky Price missed out on selection after she lost a split decision in the women’s 60kg final to Charlene Jones of Merlins Bridge, Pembrokeshire.
But Brace is expected to be joined in the Commonwealth Games boxing squad by St Joseph’s stars Sean McGoldrick and Joe Cordina and Pontllanfraith heavyweight Kody Davies.
Brace’s selection caps a remarkable few months for Torfaen Warriors who have seen five of their boxers crowned Welsh champions.
Michael Fisher and Crimea Jenkins won the Welsh Schoolboys titles at 36kg and 52kg respectively.
Dino Smith and Shane Thomas were crowned Welsh Youth champions at 69kg and 75kg respectively.
And Brace won the senior 51kg title, while Price was runner-up in the 60kg final.
Smith, Thomas and Torfaen teammate Lewis Howells will all be in action in the Pirkka Cup in Finland from May 9 to May 12.
While Fisher and Jenkins will fight in the British Tri-Nations tournament in Liverpool from May 8 to May 11.
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