BY CHRIS MCNULTY
BOXING hero Jason Quigley, the world middleweight silver medalist, will meet the acclaim of his people this evening.
The 22-year old Ballybofey man came away from the World Championships in Kazakhstan with silver after being beaten by Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in Saturday’s final.
Quigley created history by becoming the first Irish male boxer to win better than bronze at the Worlds – and this evening the Finn Valley will unite to welcome home their star.
Quigley returns with silver – but in Ballybofey he is still the golden boy.
A special homecoming reception has been organised for 6 o’clock at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar.
The Millbrae centre has been the scene for many of Quigley’s triumphant homecomings, but this is set to eclipse all before it in its magnitude.
Crowd estimates go into four figures after a week of action in Almaty that saw Quigley capture the imagination of the Irish public.
Even the non-sportspeople were gripped by his story.
“I get dizzy thinking about it and you have to nip yourself and say: ‘This is Jason Quigley from The Beeches’. It’s just brilliant,” his father, Conor, told the Donegal News from Kazakhstan on Saturday.
“When you take a wee step back, look and realise what it is that he has achieved is unbelievable.”
Jason spoke of being ‘heartbroken’ after his fight, but the pride of his achievement was also palpable.
He said: “I give my whole life to this sport and I know, when I go away and look it, that I’ll be absolutely honoured to be the first Irish boxer ever to get this far.”
The Finn Valley Centre buzzed on Saturday as a huge crowd gathered to cheer on the lion-hearted Quigley, including the star boxer’s mother, Muriel.
“I’m so proud of him, he has given his life to boxing,” said an emotional Muriel.
“It just wasn’t meant to be, but he has done so well to get to where he has.”