Spot in 2020 Olympics within reach in South America
By Jeff Hicks
Brace yourself, Buenos Aires.
The Full Mandy is coming full force for the Continental Olympic Qualifiers at the end of March.
Mandy Bujold, Waterloo Region’s community champ, will be at her best with a fly weight spot on the line for the Summer Games in Tokyo. She’ll need a top-four finish.
“We’re not holding anything back for this one,” Mandy said on Tuesday after Boxing Canada officially named the 11-time national champ to the Canadian team bound for Argentina.
“We’re preparing to be at our best for this event. One-hundred per cent.”
Mandy, who tuned up with a bronze-medal performance in Hungary a few weeks ago, is determined to become the first Canadian female boxer to appear in two Olympics.
The “fair winds” of Argentina have been good to Mandy before.
This is where she qualified for the 2016 Olympics of Rio.
She’s a Canadian team leader now, a practicing professor of the sweet science and the most experienced boxer on the team. She’ll mentor and guide her younger teammates, who watched how Mandy carried herself in Hungary. Some came up to her and told her how cool it was to finally travel with her. Mandy, who won gold at the Canadian qualifiers in Montreal in January, welcomes the role as master ring marauder.
“I don’t mind at all,” she said.
Nor does Mandy mind a weight class peppered with southpaws awaiting her in Buenos Aires from March 26 to April 3. Maybe half her potential opponents are right-jabbing lefties, she figures.
“It flips everything,” said Mandy, a fluid righty with nimble, precise footwork.
“I find it makes for a little more of a ‘technical’ fight for me because you’re trying to get the right position.”
So Mandy is lining some southpaw sparring partners for three weeks of training in Kitchener, prior to two weeks with the national team in Montreal. Her coach, Syd Vanderpool, was a North American title-holder as left-handed pro. When he holds the focus pads for Mandy to punch, he takes a lefty stance.
“That’s going to help me feel comfortable,” Mandy said.
Her opponents in Buenos Aires, should be uneasy. The Full Mandy is coming for them.
“Left handed, right handed, three-handed, Mandy is ready and prepared to execute her style of boxing,” Vanderpool said. “I am never concerned about the opposition. My job is to inspire Mandy to bring her best performances every time out.”
The five-week countdown to Argentina is officially on. The dream of taking another shot at an Olympic medal is within her grasp.
“This is the big one,” Mandy said. “I’m looking forward to getting there and performing.”