Boxer Ben Whittaker apologises for not wearing silver medal

Boxer Ben Whittaker has apologised for not wearing his Olympic silver medal following his heartbreaking defeat after saying he had time to reflect on his achievement.

Ben Whittaker with his silver medal.
Ben Whittaker with his silver medal.

The Darlaston fighter was all smiles as he posted a picture of him wearing his medal on social media.

It was in sharp contrast to his demeanour during the medal ceremony in Tokyo as he stood head bowed with his hands in his pockets, visibly frustrated by missing out on the gold medal.

But the 24-year-old light-heavyweight has apologised and thanked his fans back home in the West Midlands for their support.

He said: "I've had time to reflect and I'm grateful for everyone's support, I'm sorry for not wearing my medal with pride.

"I'm just human and I was showing my emotion but in the wrong way.

"Now looking back, I'm sorry, what an achievement and I'm thankful."

It came as Wolves captain Conor Coady told Whittaker he is the toast of the club after winning Olympic silver.

The boxer, whose father Tony works at Molineux on matchdays, will attend Wolves’ opening home game of the season against Tottenham on August 22.

Ben Whittaker did not wear his silver medal on the podium

Coady revealed the 24-year-old’s exploits in Japan had been the talk of the dressing room.

Speaking to Whittaker on 5Live, he said: “Everyone here, all the boys, have been asking about you. You have done yourself and your family proud.

“The pride that is running through everyone for you is incredible. You need to bring that medal home, let us all see it.”

Coady revealed how he had spoken to the boxer ahead of his gold medal bout against Cuba’s Arlen Lopez.

The Darlaston ace’s refusal to wear his medal on the podium has drawn some criticism but Coady, who suffered his own heartbreak with England in last month’s Euro 2020 final, was sympathetic.

He explained: “I don’t think people understand sometimes, as a sportsman, you work so hard to get the win.

“When it happens you have that much emotion running through you, that much adrenaline, you are thinking about the worst because you have just been beat.

“When you take a step back and look at what you have done you go: ‘Wow, I have done something serious there’.

“The best thing about Ben is he is 24. He can go again, and again and again. It is a moment to look back on and think what an achievement. It was fantastic.”

Whittaker in action against Cuba's Arlen Lopez

Whittaker said: “At the end of the day, I’m human. Nobody likes coming second and I think I just showed my raw emotion.

“It wasn’t the fact I lost the gold, it was the embarrassment I let people down, I let Great Britain down.

“Now I have looked back on it and seen all the messages I have had from back home, it has really cheered me up.

“As long as I have helped the GB medal tally and GB boxing, I could not ask for more.

“Of course, I could have represented myself better. I am a true competitor at the end of the day.

“If I am playing PlayStation with my friends and if I lose, I’m upset. If I am running on the track with my team-mates at GB and I lose, I’m upset.

“It is just the way it is, the way I have been brought up. I have a winner’s mentality. If I could rewind and do it again I would. But all I can do now is to try and right the wrongs.”

Whittaker, part of the GB boxing team since 2016, revealed he missed his grandmother’s funeral in order to attend a pre-Games training camp.

“It’s early morning sacrifices, when friends are doing things you want to do,” he said.

“My grandma sadly passed away and on the day of her funeral a training camp came up.

“My dad said: ‘You know what, you need to win these Olympics. So go over to Turkey do the training camp and she will look down on you’.

“I was trying to fight for her there. Those are the sacrifices. A lot of things go on behind closed doors, little sacrifices or niggles.

“People only see on the day whether you shine or lose but that is why I am so happy to be an athlete and representing GB at the highest level.”

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