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Friday, June 14, 2024
Sports: St. Davids boxer falls short in Olympic quest
St. Davids boxer Mckenzie Wright's quest to fight in the Olympics ended when she lost a quarterfinal bout Sunday in Thailand. FILE PHOTO

For one athlete, elation and joy, a dream fulfilled.

For another, heartache and disappointment as a dream was dashed.

On Sunday, three rounds, nine minutes of bobbing, weaving, punching and counter-punching in a boxing ring in Bangkok would decide the Olympic future of two elite athletes.

For Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Mckenzie Wright, it was not to be.

After two sensational bouts in which she dominated her opponents, Wright, 34, came up against a tough, ambidextrous opponent in Mexico’s Fatima Herrera in the 50-kilogram weight class.

The St. Davids resident and recent Niagara College nursing grad lost a unanimous decision, ending her dream of representing Canada in this summer’s Paris Olympics.

It was the three-time Canadian champion’s last shot at qualifying for the 2024 Games. With the win, Herrera punched her ticket to Paris.

Wright came oh-so-close to qualifying, several times.

Two months ago in Italy she was edged out in a somewhat controversial decision and last fall, despite winning a Pan American Games bronze medal, she fell just short of making the team for Paris.

But she gave it her all, delaying her nursing career, training several days a week and paying her own way to Thailand and other international venues to represent her country on the world stage.

At home in St. Davids, proud parents Dow and Judy Wright were able to watch the livestream broadcast of all her bouts, including the heart-wrenching final one.

“The past couple of years have been quite a ride for Mckenzie and ourselves,” they told The Lake Report. “Lots of highs, a few lows and incredible achievement.”

“Mckenzie has been so fortunate to have had such a great network of friends, teammates and coaches that have contributed so much to her success,” they added.

“But most of that success boils down to her dedication, hard work and sheer force of will. No one has worked harder to achieve their goals.”

Her parents said they are grateful “for the incredible interest, support and energy that our family and friends have provided along the way.”

“Sometimes it feels like the entire town has been invested in Mckenzie’s story in some way or another and we appreciate that support as well.”

“But most of all we are immensely proud of Mckenzie to lay it out there and chase the dream.”

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