Calum French may not have returned from the Gold Coast ring with a medal in his pocket – but the experience has lit the fuel that he hopes will power him to Olympic glory in two years’ time.
The 23-year-old lightweight, who claimed European bronze in 2017, finished fourth in April’s competition Down Under, missing out on a rostrum spot after his loss to Indian fighter Manish Kaushik in the quarter-finals.
However, Gateshead’s French remains magnanimous about the outcome and insists he is enriched by the taste of the first major multi-sport tournament.
And he is already prepping one step at the time with the aim of standing tall at Tokyo 2020 with a gold medal around his neck.
“You have the Olympic qualifiers coming up next year – the Europeans and the Worlds are the next major competitions I’ll be looking to medal at,” said French, who trains at Birtley ABC.
“I came home with a bronze from last year’s Europeans, so I’ll be looking to go two better and bring home that gold from the Europeans, and then onto the worlds – and hopefully get a medal there, too.
“The Olympics is a long-term goal but I need to make sure I’m medalling at those major competitions and qualify first.
“It will be a lot of hard work building up to Tokyo but I know it will be worth it – to get there will be everything I’ve worked for since I first walked into the gym when I was nine years old.
“It’s all I’ve ever been about, going to the Olympics. I know there’s a lot of sacrifices over the next few years but I know it will be worth it when I’m on that podium in Tokyo.”
French is no stranger to a podium having sealed gold in the 2017 GB Boxing Championships and twice winning the England Boxing Elite Nationals.
And rather than deflate him, French’s experience in Australia was undoubtedly an eye-opener which will stand him in good stead in and out of the ring for the rest of his career.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” added French. “It was amazing to see the culture of Australia, it’s such a sporting country.
“The games were a surreal experience – seeing all the athletes from all the different sports come together.
“It was great, it would have been nice to come home with a medal but the experience as a whole has really influenced me and my career.
“It’s like a mini-Olympics – it’s a big insight into what the Olympics is going to be like, it’s a taster for that.”
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