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Thibeault, Sanford officially named to Canada's Olympic boxing team

Tammara Thibeault Canada Tammara Thibeault - The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Boxing Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have named Tammara Thibeault and Wyatt Sanford to Canada's boxing team for this summer's Paris Games.

The team was officially announced Tuesday. Sanford and Thibeault both earned Olympic spots by winning gold at the 2023 Pan American Games.

They will be the only boxers on the team Paris after all nine Canadians competing in an Olympic qualification tournament earlier this year in Bangkok failed to lock up another spot.

Thibeault, from Shawinigan, Que., will compete in the women’s 75-kilogram classification for the second straight Games.

She advanced to the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Games in 2021, matching Canada’s best Olympic result in any women’s boxing event.

“I haven’t quite accomplished what I want to yet at the Olympics. Like a lot of things in life, things didn’t always go according to plan or as expected," Thibeault said in a release.

"With the pandemic, the preparations leading up to the Olympics in Tokyo were below par, especially because boxing is such a close-contact sport, so training was really impaired. So things didn’t pan out the way I wanted to, but that’s OK because I have another opportunity now."

Thibeault, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and 2022 world champion, also captured gold at the 2023 AMBC Continental Championships. She was upgraded from bronze to silver at the 2019 Pan American Games after her semifinal opponent was disqualified for doping.

Sanford will box in the men’s 63.5kg competition. He is appearing at his second Olympics after losing in the opening round in Tokyo.

In addition to his 2023 Pan Am gold, Sanford won bronze at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and advanced to the round of 16 at the 2019 World Championships.

"It’s me in the ring, but it’s for the whole community. Without my hometown, I wouldn’t be where I’m at and I always fight with them on my side,” said Sanford, who hails from Kennetcook, N.S.

Boxing will take place July 27 to Aug. 10 with preliminary rounds at the North Paris Arena and finals at Roland Garros Stadium.

Canada has won 17 Olympic boxing medals. The most recent was David Defiagbon’s silver medal won in the men’s heavyweight category from Atlanta 1996.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2024.