British super heavyweight Delicious Orie has secured a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics following victory in his semi-final at the European Games.
Orie, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, beat Bulgaria’s Yordan Hernandez and faces Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev in the final on Sunday.
And while gold at the European Games potentially awaits, for Orie it was sealing his place in the Olympics that prompted an emotional reaction afterwards.
“I’ve always had this dream and now I’ve got it. Working so hard. We’re there,” he said.
“Every single day I wake up in the morning before I go out on my runs, I think: ‘I am going to be an Olympian’. Today is the day. Hard work pays off.
“Every single day even when I’ve been at family functions, talking to my mom and dad about normal things, in the back of my head I’m thinking: ‘I’ve got to qualify for the Olympics’.
“This means everything to me. This is a day I will never, ever forget.”
Orie will look to continue Team GB’s pedigree in the super heavyweight division, where Audley Harrison and Anthony Joshua have won Olympic gold, Joe Joyce a silver and Frazer Clark a bronze.
Orie, who was born in Russia and moved to the UK aged seven, started boxing aged 18, and now 26 the boxer wants to inspire the next generation having been thankful for Joshua’s input on his own career.
“[I want] to inspire as many people as I possibly can, especially young adults and the younger generation, making them believe it’s very much possible to achieve the things they want to achieve,” he told Olympics.com.
“It doesn’t have to be boxing, it can be anything, whatever age they are too. It’s very much possible, they’ve just got to put their minds to it.
“But I don’t think I’ll ever tick that box off because it’s continuous.”
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He added: “I’ve told Anthony Joshua himself after one of our last sparring sessions, ‘Look, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even be competing. Because the likes of himself, Joyce, Frazer and Audley Harrison, they made me believe it was possible to do it, to achieve it.
“I was considered very late to start boxing at 18 and to perform at the level I’m at now, in a few years, for me they are very, very important and gave me the confidence to go out there and be on that podium myself. And I hope I’ll be doing the same thing, passing on the torch to the next person in a couple of years.”