Peterson Arafura fears as McPhee strikes gold

NEIL DEVEY, The West Australian May 25, 2011, 12:23 pm
Selena McPhee with children Claudia-Jean and Cartell

Shelley Mildred/West Regional ©

Boxing WA development director Geoff Peterson has warned organisers against cutting numbers at the biennial Arafura Games.

The five-day multi-sport tournament, held in Darwin earlier this month, saw participants double in the boxing to 180 this year, even though a number of countries who have previously entered failed to send teams.

The event still attracted the likes of India, New Zealand, Indonesia and Macau and Peterson said it should be a case of the more, the better.

"They are talking about culling numbers but I think that's stupid," he said. "This is the only international boxing tournament we host.

"Countries such as the Philippines, Northern Ireland and Scotland didn't send teams this time and I believe the strong Australian dollar may have had an effect. But we still had a strong overseas contingent - India brought their Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh over."

This year's competition was one of the least successful for WA, with a return of one gold, two silver and six bronze.

However, that was of little concern for Newman Boxing Club's Selena McPhee, who won the 48kg category. Now the 27-year-old mother-of-two is aiming for a place in the 2012 Olympics, according to one of her trainers Dave Schofield.

"It's a great story," said Schofield. "She had to hurry to jump on a plane 20 minutes after she fought to get back home to look after the kids.

"She's only been boxing seriously for two years. She has a big heart, lots of courage and a never-say-die attitude."

Peterson also praised McPhee's efforts but said she would have to jump up a division if she was to attempt to get to London next year.

"There are only three divisions in the women's boxing at the Olympics - 51kg, 60 and 75 - so she would have to go at 51," Peterson said.

"That's a big ask, a big step-up, but she is very strong."She has already challenged the State No1 at 51kg, Kelly McGrath."

WA medal winners at Arafura Games
Gold: Selena McPhee
Silver: Brandon Ogilvie, Patrick Eneanya
Bronze: Abdul Jenzarli, Brett Mather, Jessie Bouquet, Mark Pevinsky, Matt Siecris, Ross Weaver

- Boxing WA have two shows coming up, the first at the Perth Demons club at Lathlain Park on Saturday, June 4, followed a week later by a show at the Newman Recreation Centre on June 11.

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