T he delighted dad of North Belfast Olympian Paddy Barnes who is going for gold at the Olympic Games said his whole family is proud as punch of their hero son. An exhausted Paddy Barnes Snr was speaking to the North Belfast News this morning (Thursday) after a night of no sleep following his son’s impressive victory that has secured him at least a bronze medal.
The Cliftonville Olympic legend is now set to fight for silver but Paddy Snr said his son has his eye on the main prize- the gold medal.
“We all are just over the moon and have been buzzing all night after the fight,” he said.
“I haven’t even had a bit of sleep, honest to God I don’t think people can even believe how much support he’s been given with the texts and phone calls back home. We are just so delighted.
“I would say he has been looking forward to this next fight from the start and there’s no doubt about it he has his head down and is going for gold.”
Paddy’s dad and mum Ellen, brother Thomas and his fiancée as well as their wider family circle have been having a ball over in London cheering him on. Paddy Snr said he was delighted last night to get a quick five minutes with his son after the fight.
“I think I was maybe the only unaccredited person who managed to slip through and get into the changing room,” he said.
“I just got in and Paddy was just back in after having his shower and it was just a really special moment with just the two of us being able to talk to him and congratulate him.”
The cheeky Cliftonville chappie has been providing fans back home with updates on his progress with his witty comments on Twitter. Paddy Snr said his son is a great and unassuming character who now has eyes on the main prize.
“He said to me in the room ‘is there loads of people out there da?” because he was a bit nervous about coming out to see them all,” he said
“So we got a wee corner and he came out to see me and his family and his wee mate Carl Frampton and the family of Michael Conlan too. We’re just so delighted to be able to congratulate him.
“He is unfazed by it all, he said to me he was delighted to get it but then he just said he was looking at the next fight. He doesn’t let it go to his head. He just gets on with things, he had said to me he felt like he had let people down after Beijing but he has come back and worked so hard this four years and deserves everything he has got.”
Paddy said his son’s hard work and determination can show other young men in North Belfast that if you try hard you can achieve your dreams.
“I know I would say this because I am his daddy but he is a great kid,” he said.
“He has put the work in and it shows. I would say to kids that you can do anything you set your mind to. All the kids round here love him and I think it shows them they can do what they want if they try.
“I’m his daddy and he’s my son and no matter what happens now we are proud of him. He has worked his socks off for this.”