By Hannah Blackwell
Rosie Eccles is poised to make amends for her Olympic heartache before Tokyo 2021.
The Welsh boxer – who missed out three years ago because of illness – has secured a remarkable opportunity to compete for an Olympic gold medal at the upcoming Paris Olympics.
The 26-year-old, who claimed the light-middleweight gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, demonstrated her exceptional skills once again at the European Games held in Poland.
In a high quality performance, Eccles advanced to the semi-ifinals and clinched her qualification for the Olympic Games in France next year.
The European Games is being used as Olympic qualification in some sports and on Wednesday, Eccles achieved a hard-fought victory against Amy Broadhurst, the world and European champion from Ireland.
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 28, 2023
With the judges ultimately awarding her a split decision victory by a margin of 3-2, Eccles displayed her determination and prowess in the ring.
Eccles was almost overcome with emotion afterwards.
Through tears, she said: “I’ve got no words. I just thought after everything that’s happened, it was too good to happen to me. I kept coming back, grinding away. When you want something so bad it just feels impossible.”
She added: “Amy is one of the people I admire more than anyone in the boxing world. She’s been through some rough patches like me and honestly I wish that was the final.
“Charley, that we qualified together, we roomed together, we lived together, we cried together and now we win together.”
Eccles dramatically rallied from conceding the first round to Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst.
The skilled Irish southpaw countered Eccles with well-placed right hooks. But the Welsh 66kg-fighter powered forward with high volume attacks to slam her right cross through.
They finished working desperately hard and it was Eccles who took a split decision win.
It was an impressive result for the Welsh Commonwealth Games champion Eccles.
Broadhurst, as well as being a gold medallist at the Commonwealths, also won World and European gold medals in the weight class below.
Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington is on the same Ireland team at lightweight, Broadhurst has moved up to 66kgs as she seeks to realise her Olympic dream.
Harrington also qualified for Paris on Wednesday after beating Sweden Agnes Alexiusson.
There will be two more world qualification events next year.