SET TO FIGHT: Taylah Robertson has won a national boxing title and is set to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
SET TO FIGHT: Taylah Robertson has won a national boxing title and is set to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games. Warren Lynam

Teen boxer claims Games' first medal without a punch thrown

TEENAGER Taylah Robertson has essentially grasped Australia's first medal of the Commonwealth Games before they have even started, with a bye in her division gifting her bronze.

And it's hoped she can turn it into gold.

The Cooroy fighter was the beneficiary of a lucky draw on Tuesday night, when the schedule was randomly generated for the women's 51kg division.

She received a bye in round one of the seven-competitor field and was afforded direct passage into the semi-finals, where both losers will receive bronze medals.

"It's just the luck of the draw," her coach Mark Evans said.

"For some reason the numbers in that division were down. When you look at some of the boys divisions, some of them have 24 to 26 boxers there."

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And there are high hopes Robertson, 19, can go on with the job.

"We've got a guaranteed bronze but I'm tipping that colour might change," Evans said.

"She's on fire at the moment. She's going to be very, very hard to beat.

"She's probably the fittest I've ever seen her. She's so sharp. I was doing pads with her on Tuesday (and) her hand speed was just amazing so she's ready to go."

A Bribie Island product, Robertson lives at Caloundra and is a member of Impact Boxing at Cooroy, under Evans.

TEENAGER PREPARES IN EARNEST FOR GAMES

But she's been busy with national coaches since December. She's had intense training campaigns in the Philippines and at the Australian Institute of Sport, including a multi-national camp, where she impressed against some of the athletes which are in her division.

Robertson is the youngest female to represent Australia in boxing at a Commonwealth Games.

She was in camp and was unable to speak to media on Wednesday but Evans spoke to her on Tuesday.

He told the Daily she would have preferred to have had a bout before the semi-finals.

"(But) I reminded her that at the Commonwealth Games selection trials in November last year she fought four times in three days to win through to the final so she's already done her hard yards," Evans said.

"She's proved she should be there, she beat the country's best 51kg girls and beat them convincingly."

In a quirk of the system, all of the Australian women received byes while several men did too.

Robertson's semi-final will be on Friday the 13th.

"Who planned the date around that one?" Evans asked.

Robertson's had to quit part time jobs at a coffee shop and as a fitness trainer to focus purely on her boxing.

She's been based at the AIS for most of her preparation with support from some sponsors, her club and her mother Cassandra Gray, who works at a real estate agent.

"Between us all we're keeping her afloat," Evans said.

"We can't have her worried about all this other stuff. She needs to be wholly and solely focused on her boxing and nothing else, so if we can ease some financial burden for her and give her one less thing to worry about it's a good thing."



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