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Vallily overcomes trials to claim a Commonwealth gold medal.

SIMON VALLILY took less than two minutes to complete his journey from a cell in a young offenders' institution to the top of a Commonwealth Games podium yesterday, and said he hoped his triumph would inspire similar feats of sporting redemption.

Five years ago the Middlesbrough 25-year-old was facing up to a life and promising sporting career in ruins when he was sentenced to four years inside for a vicious, unprovoked knife attack on the streets of his home town.

But last night Vallily was proudly wearing a gold medal around his neck having outclassed Northern Ireland's Steven Ward in their heavyweight final at the Talkatora Stadium, knocking Ward to the canvas in the first round.

Such have been the speed and power of Vallily's performances in Delhi that his coach Rob McCracken insisted: "He's frighteningly good. We've got two years to work with him and there's a real possibility he could win the Olympics."

Vallily, a former Middlesbrough trainee appeared intent on making up for some of the time he lost during his near six-year break from the sport, when he was lured down the wrong track and his talent seemed destined to go astray.

Vallily jolted Ward's head back with the first punch he threw - a straight left - and quickly burst into a 6-1 lead before another left badly wobbled Ward and the following right toppled him heavily to the canvas.

Vallily's win ended England's night on a good note but could not hide the disappointment of defeats for Bradley Saunders, Anthony Ogogo and Callum Smith. Earlier, Tom Stalker won England's other boxing gold medal.

Vallily said: "It feels brilliant. I have proved a lot of people wrong. I have got a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and a lot of people back home wouldn't have thought I would get to where I am now.

"Boxing has kept me on the straight and narrow. I have kept my head down. Where I come from I can show the younger lads the right way and if you are good at something to stick at it and in the end it will pay off."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 14, 2010
Words:355
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