There was no golden redemption arc for Carly McNaul at the Commonwealth Games, but the Northern Irish fighter pledged through tears that she will come back stronger.
McNaul had to settle for 52kg silver four years ago on the Gold Coast 2018 and the 33-year-old from east Belfast was out to go one better in Birmingham after moving down to 50kg.
But Indian world champion Nikhat Zareen proved too good for the ‘Wrecking Ball’ in their light flyweight final, taking a 5-0 unanimous points decision to top the podium.
That left McNaul to reflect on a second consecutive Commonwealth silver and while she was gutted with the result, the NI boxing team co-captain insisted she was down but not out.
“She is just a really brilliant boxer,” said McNaul. “I just tried to keep small and move my head, but she was just better than me. She is a very skilful boxer and technical.
“She was just getting the better shots off, but I will come again. I’m not going to stop until I get what I want. A lot of people didn’t believe in me and believe I could make 50kgs.
“I’ve proved a lot of them wrong. To come here and produce the performances that I have done, I am proud of myself. I had four good fights and met the world champion in the final.
“I’ll go back and watch the fight. I’ll take a lot from it and learn and get better.”
This summer, Team Northern Ireland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 100 athletes, all vying for medal success.
McNaul had looked impressive on her route to the final after a wobble in her opening round of 16 bout against Australia’s Kristy Harris, taking a tight 3-2 split points decision.
She dispatched Sri Lanka’s Keshani Hansika with a unanimous points decision before repeating the feat in her semi-final against Uganda’s Teddy Nakimuli at Birmingham’s NEC.
But the gold medal was a step too far once again, with reigning world champion Zareen delivering an accomplished display, prompting McNaul to vow to get her own back one day.
“I am absolutely gutted I didn’t get the gold, but I am just going to keep going. I have shown everyone from four years ago that I am a completely different boxer,” she added.
“I hope to continue and keep going, keep learning. I have got the Europeans in October and then I’ll go from that to the Olympics. I’ll take a few weeks off and drive forward for the Europeans.
“The whole experience has been amazing. Walking out and knowing that your family is in the crowd watching you in a Commonwealth Games final is just unbelievable.
“I have fought the world champion in the Commonwealth final and I think I did all right in my performance, so it shows that I have grown a lot. I know I am at the level. She is beatable and I believe that I can beat her, and I will just keep going and learning. One day I will get her.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.