Hickey eyeing up gold in Birmingham after European success

·4-min read
Sam Hickey is hoping to stand on top of the podium in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after success at the European Championships.
Sam Hickey is hoping to stand on top of the podium in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after success at the European Championships.

By Tom Masters, Sportsbeat

With under a fortnight to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, boxer Sam Hickey is thinking about one thing only: gold.

Hickey, 22, recently returned from both the European Under-22 Championships and the senior European Championships with bronze medals, showing his credentials ahead of his maiden senior Commonwealth Games venture.

And his recent success has given Hickey a significance confidence boost in his quest to climb to the summit of the podium.

“I’m really confident, and looking to get a gold medal here,” said Hickey, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

“Coming back from the European Championships last month and the Under-22s with bronzes has put me in good stead and given me confidence heading into these Games.

“I know now that I can mix it with anybody.

“At this level, it’s all brilliant boxers, we’re all good fighters, we wouldn’t be there if we weren’t.

“But it's knowing on the day who's got momentum going into it that gives you that bit of an edge on your opponent. So, yes, it's looking good.”

Hickey has had promise for a while, first stepping into a ring aged nine after begging his father to take him to his local club, and after first fighting at the age of 11, he got a taste for it.

It was not immediately obvious just how much potential there was until the Dundee fighter first achieved real success in 2016 - winning silver in the Junior European Championships which resulted in him “putting all his eggs in one basket.”

And a year later it was clear that the world was Hickey’s oyster, picking up bronze in the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in 2017 – proving he could do it on the big stage, something he prides himself on.

He said: “I've come from a good and supportive family, so whatever I wanted to do, they had my back the whole time. I'm fortunate to have that good family and friends behind me.

“My record was like 50:50 when I was a schoolboy, then I went away to France on my first trip with Scotland.

“I was 14 and I wasn't really that good then. I was all right, but I wasn't getting the results I wanted.

“Then they took me to the European Championships in 2016, and I got a silver medal at the juniors. And I thought: maybe I can do something here and just start to put all my eggs in one basket.

“I was doing well as a youth, moving through the weights and stuff and wasn't really concerned about making weight and was just letting my body grow. So I was able to hold my own against anybody.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 250 athletes in total, and having secured his place on the squad, Hickey is looking for medal success.

That rise to the top has continued with plenty more medals going round the middleweight’s neck, which resulted in him being selected as a fully funded Team GB athlete in January.

And Hickey could not be more grateful to The National Lottery for everything they have done to help him reach this point.

He said: “The National Lottery are amazing. Getting on to Team GB at the start of the year secured funding for me, which has allowed me to become a full-time athlete and try and achieve my goals, which has made a big difference.

“Before I was trying to balance the job as well as train full time, but now getting the funding, that just opens a lot more doors and gives me a lot more opportunities to perform at my best.

“So everybody who buys a ticket for The National Lottery - we appreciate it greatly.”

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: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.

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