DeGale delight at honour
Middleweight champion and his coach both handed MBEs
Last Updated: 31/12/08 12:36am
DeGale: Soon to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire
Olympic champion James DeGale and Great Britain head coach Terry Edwards are revelling in their inclusion on the 2009 New Year Honours List.
"It was a dream come true to represent my country at the Olympics and to have won a gold medal, and this just caps a perfect year for me."
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Edwards helped steer the 22-year-old middleweight to gold in Beijing, while super heavyweight David Price and light heavyweight Tony Jeffries also picked up bronze medals in their respective divisions.
DeGale has gone on to turn professional since and he is understandably thrilled to be awarded an MBE at such an early stage in his career.
"I was absolutely gob-smacked when I heard the news and I'm so proud to have received this honour," he said.
"It was a dream come true to represent my country at the Olympics and to have won a gold medal, and this just caps a perfect year for me.
"To get this kind of public recognition is amazing, and I can't wait to go the palace to collect it.
"But everything I did at the Olympics won't mean anything unless I translate it into success as a professional and I aim to become the first ever British gold medallist to win a world title.
"I've been back in the gym, training hard for my debut, and now the focus will be on learning my trade in the professional ranks. My dream was always to win Olympic gold and then lift a world title. I've done half of that - now I've got to start all over again, but I'm relishing the challenge."
65-year-old Edwards looks set to vacate his coaching role when his contract expires in March meanwhile, following the appointment of new performance director Kevin Hickey, but that is taking none of the gloss off his achievements.
"I am thrilled and delighted to receive the MBE," Edwards added.
"Just being involved in James' gold medal win was honour enough for me but to now be told I am going to be honoured in this way is the icing on the cake and also a tremendous honour for my family.
"It's nice that all the hard work I did along with the rest of the team has been recognised at the very top. When certain people were firing bullets we kept our heads down and kept our focus."