Watts eyes Rio redemption with Commonwealth Games gold

Olympian Shelley Watts has refound her passion for boxing after returning to full-time work and is planning Rio redemption with a Commonwealth Games gold medal defence on home soil.

Watts was considered a medal chance at the 2016 Rio Olympics but bowed out in her first fight following a controversial split decision against Italian teenager Irma Testa.

The 30-year-old began boxing six years ago and burst onto the scene winning gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

But after missing out on funding following the Olympics, the formerly Canberra-based Watts moved home to Port Macquarie and began full-time work as a solicitor.

Watts is still training and remains committed to defending her gold medal in the 60kgs division on the Gold Coast next April.

"I went home and did some soul searching... I have to work full-time now so my training is very different but it's made me enjoy boxing again because not everything is centred around boxing," Watts said.

"I'm training as much as I can fit in and as much as my body and mind allows me to, I need to get my weight back down but fingers crossed I can qualify.

"I'm taking it day by day and as long as my body and mind keep going I won't stop training, age is mind over matter and I'm fitter now than when I was 20."

Watts was back in the capital on Wednesday presenting ACT school students with the Pierre de Coubertin Award which recognises academic and sporting excellence, while exemplifying Olympic values.

"Days like this are amazing because it introduces students to the different sides of the Olympic movement from what they see on the telecast," Watts said.

"It's about hearing from athletes and their personalities... it's important to get in front of the kids to show them what the Olympic Games is like from the other side.

"They wanted to know what it takes to be an Olympian and the mental preparation and how I balance life with training, so I showed them a few behind the scenes videos."

Kingsford Smith School student Felicity Funnell was an award recipient and the 16-year-old soccer player hopes to one day compete at the Olympics.

"It's a huge honour getting this award and something I'll definitely hang on the wall at home," Funnell said.

"Shelley spoke about how you get to the top and how we don't really see what happens behind the scenes, we see the performance but not how much they train and what they go through to get there.

"It was really cool to hear about her experience, it would be amazing to go to the Olympics and it's awesome to be able to come out here to the AIS and use the facilities where most of our Olympians begin their journey."

The story Watts eyes Rio redemption with Commonwealth Games gold first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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