Belfast Salutes Paddy Barnes
The crowds were out at Belfast City Hall to watch the homegrown boxer win bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games
It was always going to be difficult to beat the Chinese wizard Zou Shiming – who defeated him at the same stage of the Bejing Olympics in 2008 – but Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes put up a spirited fight nonetheless.
Having secured an Olympic bronze medal for the Irish team – adding to Katie Taylor's stunning gold and John Joe Nevin's potential gold – Barnes did himself proud in London on Friday, August 10 in a close-fought bought that ended 15-15, but which Shiming won 44-45 after a countback.
Fellow Belfast boxer Michael Conlon also scooped bronze after losing to Cuban maestro Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana by 20 points to ten that same evening.
Earlier in the day, however, at Belfast City Hall the sun shown on a huge crowd of supporters who willed Barnes on with every punch thrown. Silver was not to be, but the west Belfast boy will come home a hero regardless.
Barnes later posted a typically gracious message to his fans, and to Zou Shiming, on Facebook: 'Give it my best shot. Zou is a class act. Hope he goes all the way now. Your support has been unforgettable.'