The Kiwi boxers who were heading to Wuhan, China, when the coronavirus breakout became a worldwide concern last month are now preparing to fly out yet again for the re-scheduled Olympic qualifying tournament in Jordan.
The next time Troy Garton is back to take her gut-busting Monday class, she hopes to have finally booked her ticket to the Olympics.
Training in Thailand last month, the Auckland lightweight and teammates were just days out from their Olympic qualifier in China when everything changed.
“Being on the phone with family members going, ‘Oh this coronavirus is all over the TV at the moment,' and we’re going, ‘Oh is it?’ And then it was like, 'It’s done,'” Garton said.
The team of mainly self-funded amateurs were forced to come home, their savings spent, making it almost impossible to get to the re-scheduled qualifying tournament in Jordan.
Fortunately, Boxing New Zealand will fork out a grand total of over $40,000.
“We’re not the only sport that doesn’t have funding and you really have to believe in yourself and know that you can do it - that’s why you keep getting the debts,” a laughing Garton said.
Despite Garton's success alongside other current teammates at the Commonwealth Games, boxing remains largely ignored by High Performance Sport New Zealand.
We haven't had an Olympic medal since David Tua's bronze in Barcelona in 1992.
Garton has defied the odds before. Arriving at the Comm Games with a torn ACL, she won a remarkable bronze medal.
Not bad considering the former Shortland Street actor picked up boxing late - “because I’m much better at boxing than acting,” Garton said.
The team of nine boxers leaves on Friday, the day after Garton's 32nd birthday.
A ticket to Tokyo is right at the top of her birthday wishlist.