Irish boxing starlet Katelynn Phelan enjoyed an overwhelmingly successful 2020 winning a WBC Youth World title and this success has acknowledged by the Irish national broadcaster, RTÉ, by being shortlisted as one of their nominees for Young Sportsperson of the Year.
The unbeaten Kildare Town boxer started off the year in Belfast with a routine win in February but then went into the lion's den in Germany in October to claim the world honours. The 20-year-old fighter upset the odds forcing unbeaten German star Jessica Schadko to quit on her stool following five rounds of punishment at the hands of the Kildare native. The destructive performance saw Phelan pick up the WBC Youth, WIBA World, and WBF World title belts along with the acclaim of all in Irish boxing and yielding fight offers from as far afield as America and Mexico.
Commenting on the nomination, Phelan said: "to be nominated for the RTÉ Young Sports Person of the Year is an honour, I am absolutely over the moon about it. It feels amazing to be recognised for all the hard work and dedication that myself and my team put in everyday.
Massive congratulations to all who were nominated and I wish everyone the best of luck. I would like to thank RTÉ for the nomination and to thank everyone for their support, especially my team, my family and my sponsors, without whom this wouldn't be possible."
Her coach Niall Barrett, who operates out of Unit 3 Fitness in Naas, added: "I am very privileged to get to see the hard work and dedication that Katelynn puts in everyday. She is a role model for how to conduct yourself in training and outside training and is fully deserving of this nomination.
Katelynn constantly seeks to better herself and to inspire the next wave of female athletes. She aims to show that with hard work and sacrifice you can turn your dreams into reality. The progress that she has made in the last 12 months has been astonishing and makes me very excited to see what she will go on to achieve both inside and outside the ring."
Head of Boxing Ireland Promotions, Leonard Gunning commented: “It is fantastic for Irish boxing and women's boxing to see Katie Taylor nominated for Sportsperson of the Year and Katelynn nominated for Young Sportsperson of the Year. Katie blazed a trail and now girls like Katelynn are coming through and making waves themselves.
Katelynn took a real calculated gamble going to Germany and taking on a hometown favourite like Schadko so to pull off the biggest upset win in Irish boxing during 2020 was immensely pleasing. It has really paid off for her and interest in Katelynn is now coming from all around the world. Roll on 2021...”.
This year's RTÉ Sport Awards will be held on Thursday 28 January on RTÉ One.
After an unprecedented year both on and off the field Joanne Cantwell and Darragh Maloney will present the show celebrating the stellar achievements of Irish sportspeople in 2020 in the face of never-before-seen challenges.
Also nominated for the RTE award are Aaron Hill, Oisin Mullin, Keane Barry and Oisin O'Callaghan.