NORTH-EAST trio Pat and Luke McCormack and Calum French have been named as part of England’s 12-strong boxing team for April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The trio, who are all members of Birtley ABC, will head to the Gold Coast as strong medal contenders given their successes on the international stage in the last 12 months.

Pat McCormack fought for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and donned a GB vest at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and is a two-time European Championships silver medallist. His twin brother, Luke, made a successful outing as part of the British Lionhearts team in last week’s opening World Series of Boxing (WSB) contest in France, while French won a bronze medal at last year’s European Championships in Ukraine.

“It’s great to be selected for the Commonwealth Games,” said Pat, who will join French in the British Lionhearts team for their next WSB outing against the Croatian Knights at Gateshead Leisure Centre a week on Friday. “I competed at the one in Glasgow, but I was young and inexperienced then and did not win a medal.

“Since then, I have been to the World Championships twice, won two silver medals at the Europeans and been to an Olympic Games, so I will have a lot more confidence and experience going into the competition this time.

“I have always wanted to go travelling to Australia, so to be able to go there through boxing is even better. I know it will be a tough tournament, but I have trained hard and I am going there to win gold.

“Competing alongside my twin brother will make the tournament even more exciting, and if we both come home with gold, it will definitely put us out there. We just need to make sure we perform on the day.”

Commonwealth Games boxing medals have helped the launch the career of the likes of Richie Woodhall, Nicola Adams and James DeGale, and the England team competing in Australia will also feature former flyweight World Championship silver medallist Lisa Whiteside as well as highly-rated youngsters Peter McGrail and Ben Whittaker.

“I’m pleased that we’ve announced a strong team of 12 athletes,” said team leader Darren Chapple. “This team has two Olympians and a wealth of experience between them, however for the majority of the team, this will be their first taste of the Commonwealth Games.

“I know that they are all excited, and they are going to be focused on performing at their best. We know there will be tough competition during the Games, especially with strong teams from our other home nations Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and not forgetting the host nation Australia too, who will have a huge home following.”

* Thursday’s Trail To Tokyo columns features an in-depth interview with Calum French looking ahead to next week’s WSB event at Gateshead Leisure Centre.