Northampton ace Cameron ready to claim her place at Rio Olympics

Chantelle Cameron will be bidding to qualify for the Rio Olympics
Chantelle Cameron will be bidding to qualify for the Rio Olympics

Chantelle Cameron insists she is more than ready to do the job as the she bids to secure her spot at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.

Cameron is part of the 13-strong Great Britain squad for the European Continental Qualification Event that begins in Turkey this week.

The tournament, which is taking place in Samsun, runs between April 7 and April 18 and is the first of two Olympic qualification events for the women.

Two slots are available in each of the three women’s weight categories, meaning Cameron, who fights at lightweight, will qualify for this summer’s Rio Olympics if she reaches the final.

And the Northampton boxer, whose first fight is on Saturday, is confident she has the skills to achieve her aims.

“I’m over the moon to have been selected for the first Olympic qualifiers,” Cameron said.

“Just being giving this opportunity means a great deal to me and shows hard work pays off down the line.

“This tournament is going to be really tough and I need to reach the final to qualify.

“But I have beaten everybody in my division except the Olympic gold medalist of 2012 and also the Russian silver Olympic medalist, who I’m not worried about.

“I am capable of beating both of them, especially as I have reached my peak in boxing right now. My timing has been perfect.

“My coaches feel like everything has come into place at the right time.

“They keep telling me how sharp I am and that I’m on fire.

“They have just been really praising me and my running and strength and conditioning.

“I have been smashing all of my targets so physically I am in a great place and mentally I am more than ready to do the job.”

Cameron’s selection shows that she is currently the first-choice lightweight female in the Great Britain group.

She claimed gold at the Rio test event in December and knows she can medal in Brazil again if she manages to qualify.

“I am confident I am on course to achieve my aims but first I need to qualify,” she said. “I can’t be complacent.

“If I qualify then I will be confident I will be bringing back a medal from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“I know I have the skills to manage a qualification as long as the judges are fair also.”

The 24-year-old’s quest to shine in Rio has been helped by some generous sponsorship.

She had initially set a target of £2,000 as she sought to buy much-needed equipment for training and contests, but Cameron has eclipsed that.

The amount raised is now more than £2,500 and Cameron is hugely grateful for the support.

“I am really happy I have reached my Powerade sponsorship target,” she said. “It feels amazing the amount of support people have given me and they have shown that they believe in me.

“I just hope their belief pays off and I can make them proud when I’m qualified for the Olympic Games.”

And Cameron, who flew out to Turkey on Tuesday, had a special message for all of her supporters.

She said: “Thank you to all my followers who have always believed in me and always wanted to see me succeed.

“I will be switching off all my social media so I can focus on the tournament and not have any distractions so I won’t be ignoring anybody, just concentrating.

“Thanks to my coaches, my sparring partners and everybody involved in my journey.

“And also thanks to Arthur Daly from Kings Heath ABC for taking me on the pads for the first time as a young girl and getting me carded up to box to win my ABA title, then boxing for England and Team GB in a short period of time.

“Everything happens for a reason and I am saying thank you because maybe I wouldn’t be having this opportunity if it wasn’t for this man.

“I have my dreams, am chasing them and now I am inches away from achieving them.”