The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (“IABA”) confirmed Bernard Dunne’s appointment as High Performance Director at an event held at the Sport Ireland Institute at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus in Abbottstown this morning. The IABA also announced that their High Performance Unit would move to the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus on a permanent basis following the completion of an agreement with the Sport Ireland Institute.
Dunne, a 13-time national boxing title holder as well as a former WBA and European Super Bantamweight champion, joins the IABA from a role with the Dublin Senior Men’s Gaelic Football Team serving as a performance and lifestyle coach for five years. Since retiring from boxing, Dunne has also worked as an analyst for TV, as an advocate for the Irish language, and with a number of leading Irish charities focusing on faciliting young people maximise their potential particularly, those from disadvantaged communities.
Dunne will take up the role with immediate effect and will work along side the High Performance Coaching Team lead by Head Coach, Zaur Anita with a view to achieving the target of ensuring Ireland is within the Top 3 countries in terms of the numbers of boxers competing in Tokyo 2020 as well as the ultimate goal of being the best boxing nation in the world moving from the previous best of 5th ranked nation achieved at London 2012.
Speaking about Bernard’s appointment, IABA CEO, Fergal Carruth stated:
“I am delighted to confirm that Bernard has agreed to join the IABA in the key role of High Performance Director. Bernard came through an thorough and extensive recruitment facilitated by Kotinos Partners and it is fantastic for the sport in this country that it was someone who achieved such success in boxing that emerged as the best qualified candidate. The Rio Olympic Games were both difficult and disappointing for boxing but we are delighted that with this appointment together with the announcement of the move to the Sport Ireland Institute of our High Performance Unit that we have addressed three of the key recommendations detailed in the review conducted after the Rio Games. We are confident that Bernard and the rest of the High Performance Team are now well placed to maximise the conveyor belt of talent that exists in Irish boxing evidenced by the continued success of our youth boxers in international competition.”
Welcoming the appointment, Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey said:
“On behalf of Sport Ireland I would like to congratulate Bernard on his appointment. Bernard brings with him a wealth of experience in both the amateur and professional environment, and is the ideal candidate to lead Ireland’s boxing programme as we enter the Tokyo 2020 cycle. The appointment of Bernard as High Performance Director satisfies one of the key recommendations in Sport Ireland’s Rio Review which was published earlier this month and signifies a new start for amateur boxing in Ireland. Boxing has traditionally been one of Ireland’s most successful sports and we look forward to even more success under Bernard’s leadership long into the future.”
Bernard believes that his first challenge is to build on the current High Performance Programme and bring in the very latest techniques and technology to ensure that Ireland’s elite boxers – both men and women – can develop their talents and bring glory to their clubs, their county and their country.
“I believe there is huge talent within Irish boxing and I am looking forward to working with the boxers, the coaches, the clubs and the wider boxing community. We have the infrastructure around the country and we have the support of OCI and the Government.
“My vision is to take the very best in the current system and match it with the very latest in high performance training so that our men and women can perform and win at European, World and Olympic level.
“Their attitude, commitment and work ethics are equally as important as their talents. So, I will be working with the boxers and the coaches to get the very best from their training regimes, diets, as well as their physical, mental and all round development,” he said
Director of the Sport Ireland Institute, Liam Harbison said:
“On behalf of the team at the Sport Ireland Institute, we are very pleased to have finalised the agreement with the IABA to permanently house their High Performance Unit at our new facility on the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus. We look forward to working with Bernard Dunne and supporting the boxers, their coaches and staff over the coming years in the lead up to Tokyo 2020. The IABA join a growing list of Ireland’s NGB High Performance Teams basing their training in this facility and utilising the range of professional performance services available from the Institute Team.”