Daly excited by thrill of Games

By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

GLADSTONE'S Mick Daly will be walking on air when he linesup among thousands in tonight's Commonwealth Games opening ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Tonight's opening ceremony sees the realisation of a dream for Daly who is the Australian Boxing Team's assistant coach at the Games.

Speaking to The Observer from the athletes village on Games eve, Daly was bubbling with enthusiasm in anticipation for what is coming up over the next 12 days.

'I can't wait, I have never been so excited,' Daly said.

'The realisation is there that the Games are nearly here and it is time for action.''

Daly and the Australian team which includes fellow Gladstone favourite Ben McEachran moved into the village last Sunday and from Daly's words he has settled in nicely.

'The village is fantastic, from my perspective it is great to see the athletes just being normal people,' he said.

'To see the likes of Michael Klim, Giaan Rooney, Lote Tuqiri and Chris Latham around is just unbelievable.''

But with all the thrill of seeing the stars up close, Daly knows there is a big job to do while he is in Melbourne.

The boxing team has had an extensive Games preparation and Daly believes the majority of the 11-strong squad are serious medal contenders.

'All the boys have been going very well in preparation,' he said.

'The mood in the camp is great and the confidence is certainly high. The boys have been up for a long time and are starting to taper now, so they will be cherry ripe for competition.'

And Daly is super-confident about McEachran's medal hopes, believing the 2002 Games bronze medallist is looking the best he ever has.

'Benny is looking strong and is chock-full of confidence,'' he said

'He has punched holes through two quality guys he has sparred with in the lead-up and is going great.' Competition at the boxing starts on Friday.

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