Gladstone's Olympians come home

Billy Ward returns to Gladstone from the London 2012 Olympics.
Billy Ward returns to Gladstone from the London 2012 Olympics. Tom Huntley

GLADSTONE'S Billy Ward arrived back in town yesterday after his Olympic debut to an ecstatic welcome from family, friends and fans.

Decked out in Australian colours, the crowd packed into the Gladstone Airport to greet the 19-year-old boxer who touched down about 3.40pm (AEST).

Billy was Australia's lightest boxer, fighting it out in the light-flyweight division.

He was knocked out of the competition 26-4 by Cuban fighter Yosbany Veitia Soto.

"Awesome" is how Billy described his Olympics experience.

He said it was hard to explain the nerves and excitement he felt.

Billy's nerves may have got the better of him a little but he said next time he would know what to expect and how to improve.

"I fought the best I could," he said.

His message to the community's kids is that when people put you down you have to keep going.

"You've got to be a shepherd not a sheep," he said.

The boxer gave thanks to his family, coach, sponsors and the Gladstone community.

After spending time with his family Billy will be straight back into training.

His focus will be on competing at the World Amateur Boxing Championships next year and the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

After that, all eyes will be on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

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Topics:  billy ward boxing community gladstone london olympics

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