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BOXING : BOXING SPECIAL : SPECIAL PATRIOT SHAME MUST END NOW; Gilmour lottery blast as McPake quits Games bid.

Byline: HUGH KEEVINS

TOMMY GILMOUR has gone toe-to-toe with the Amateur Boxing Association.

Scotland's top fight promoter slammed the system used to dish out lottery money to the Commonwealth Games squad.

A row over funding forced lightweight Tony McPake to give up the dream of representing his country.

Salsburgh's McPake, who had been one of Scotland's brightest hopes for a medal in Manchester next year, has quit the amateur ranks and turned professional under Gilmour's managership.

Last year, the boxer got pounds 4600 from lottery funds administered by sportscotland towards preparation for his patriotic effort.

But after hearing his subsidy was being cut to just pounds 3000, McPake left the Scotland squad in disgust and will now make his debut as a professional at the St Andrew's Sporting Club on Burns' Night.

Gilmour registered his delight at acquiring a potential champion and revealed his contempt for the administrative inconsistency which has gifted him one of Scotland's top prospects in time for Christmas.

He said: "The success or failure of the Games squad will not affect my earnings in any way.

"But I believe in amateur sport and I'm outraged over what has happened to a young man who only wanted to bring distinction to his country.

"My grandfather was an Olympic gold medallist in Antwerp in 1920. I believe in the amateur ideals even though I make a living from professional boxing.

"But what happened to Tony was a diabolical liberty. I know that there are members of the boxing squad for the Commonwealth Games who are to get 10 times the amount of lottery money Tony was offered.

"There is no man in any squad worth 10 times one of his team-mates."

Gilmour revealed that the ABA recently asked him to sit on an independent commission into the sport and recommend improvements that could be made.

He said: "I gave up 10 days of my life without pay to do that and now look what happens? How do you instil confidence into a boxing squad when they're split over money?

"There is no way Tony could have prepared properly for the Commonwealth Games on what amounts to pounds 60 a week.

"And he would not have turned pro before the Games if he hadn't been so shabbily treated."

Trainer John McDermott has given up plans to become the Scottish team's coach because he has also been left saddened by the McPake affair.

Gilmour said: "John was a gold medallist at the Melbourne Olympics. He's a highly respected man in the game but even he's had enough of amateur boxers being mistreated in this way.

Fighters are being undermined by a bureaucratic process that nobody understands. It's a bad day when some are getting more cash than others because they're better at filling in forms."

Gilmour then praised Rangers chairman David Murray on an otherwise difficult day for him.

He used the example of Rangers' Murray Park as his ideal model of how the young and inexperienced should be treated as they bid to reach the top of their chosen profession.

Gilmour said: "That's the way you invest in youth and plan for the future. You nourish dreams. You don't destroy them over money."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 19, 2001
Words:534
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