Michael Conlan's latest claims about his Olympic exit are perhaps the most troubling yet 6 years ago

Michael Conlan's latest claims about his Olympic exit are perhaps the most troubling yet

Two Irish men have been at the centre of the Olympics news agenda for very different reasons this week.

Pat Hickey has made headlines around the world after he was arrested by Brazilian police on Wednesday as they investigate the illegal sale of Rio 2016 tickets.

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Hickey's arrest came 24 hours after Michael Conlan also made headlines when he claimed that amateur boxing is corrupt from top to bottom following his controversial defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

While there has been little or no sympathy for Hickey, Conlan's case couldn't be more different.

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The Belfast fighter has the sympathy of anyone with even a passing interest in boxing. Anyone who saw that fight knew that the Belfast man had been robbed.

His remarks made headlines for a different reason: because he was shining a light on something many people would suspect to be true, even if they didn't want to confront their suspicions.

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Michael Conlan could - and probably should - have been fighting for a gold medal on Saturday.

It would be the biggest moment in his sporting career and the entire country would be gathered round television screens to cheer him on, to see if he could bring back Ireland's only gold medal of these Games.

That is the scale of the injustice of Tuesday's decision.

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And now, in an interview with Kieran Cunningham in Saturday's Irish Daily Star, Conlan has made what may well be his most explosive claims yet about the scale of the corruption involved.

Conlan claims that his father and his coach suspected from before he even threw a punch in this Games that he would be the victim of a great injustice.

And he also says that Irish boxing coach Zaur Anita was told by a Russian that Conlan was "fucked". This unnamed Russian said his own life was in danger if he publicly revealed what he knew.

"After he (Nikitin) beat the Thai fighter Zaur was told by a Russian that I was fucked," Conlan says in the interview. "Those were the words he said to him, 'your boy is fucked'.

"I don't know who he was, but this Russian said to Zaur: 'I can't say anything about this or else I'll be killed'.

"Then Zaur and my Dad were running around trying to get in contact with the OCI, to get in contact with Pat Hickey and try and get something sorted.

"My Dad and Zaur knew. They were heartbroken. They couldn't even enjoy my first win."

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It's truly troubling accusations at a sport and institution that is losing credibility by the day.

The full interview is well worth a read. It's in today's Star newspaper.


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