LEEDS boxing prospect Natasha Gale admits she is spoilt for choice pin-pointing a 2018 sporting highlight but there is no denying the lure of her first team event at the Commonwealth Games.
Gale became middleweight champion in November, 2016 and the 29-year-old will look to emulate her good friend Nicola Adams by adding a Commonwealths Games gold medal to her armoury just 22 months later on the Gold Coast of Australia.
The present year will also see Gale bid to become world champion whilst also looking to successfully defend her European crown, but the Commonwealths will mark a maiden team event for the Yorkshire star, who only started boxing five years ago after being inspired by the gold medal won by Adams at the London 2012 Olympics.
“I am really excited for the Commonwealths because I have never done a team event,” said Gale.
“But, at the same time, I want to defend my European title and at the same time I want to do the worlds. I really can’t pick. It’s what you dream of isn’t it and I could be them all in one year which is exciting because normally you have to wait another year.
“The fact they are all in one year is pretty cool.”
Gale, who trains at Sheffield’s Jubilee Club, will compete in the 75kg division with competition in the boxing beginning on Thursday.
Team England are sending a team of 12 that also includes welterweight Pat McCormack, who competed for England at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Team GB at Rio 2016.
The 2014 flyweight world championship silver medallist and 2016 European Championship bronze medallist Lisa Whiteside also joins Gale in flying the flag for Team England and women’s boxing.
“It will be my first multisport event and to represent England on the Gold Coast feels unreal,” said Whiteside.
“Boxing’s major tournaments don’t always get covered on TV, so to be competing and knowing that my friends and family back home will be able to watch is going to be out of this world. I am feeling confident, my ultimate goal is to go out there and win that gold medal.”
Paige Murney and Sandy Ryan complete a quartet of women representing England and chef de Mission Sarah Winckless said: “English boxing is in an extremely strong position and to be able to welcome 12 boxers to the team this week give me great pleasure. The women’s side of the sport goes from strength to strength and I look forward to working with our four talented female athletes.”