London 2012 boxing Olympian Adam Nolan of Ireland has blasted the qualification process for Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Ireland's Adam Nolan has criticised the qualification process for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after he missed out on a spot at the event, and says he feels "let down".

The welterweight competed at London 2012, reaching the last 16, but claimed he was told he would not participate in the European qualifier in Istanbul, due to take place between April 20 and May 1. 

That was due to the fact Steven Donnelly had already secured the Irish team’s only welterweight berth at the Games through the World Series of Boxing.

Fergal Carruth, President and chief executive of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), confirmed last month that Donnelly had been ratified and had earned the nation a quota place.

The IABA had been given a deadline of December 4 to confirm Donnelly’s participation and if they had been unable to meet that and Nolan had failed to qualify, Ireland would not have had a welterweight at Rio 2016.

Nolan, who recently clinched his fifth Irish senior title, admitted he is unlikely to compete at an Olympic Games again.

“After winning the senior title a couple of weeks ago, people are under the impression that I'm going to go to a qualifier for Rio [2016] in Istanbul but unfortunately that's not the case,” Nolan told RTE Sport.

“As far as I'm concerned, and the IABA are concerned, it's dead in the water.

“I was under the impression going into the seniors that if I retained my title, I could be sent to a qualifier.

“But a couple of days later I was hit with this bombshell that winning my fifth senior title was all in vain - 'You can't be sent now, Stephen has been ratified by the governing body'.

“I feel disappointed that I'm not even getting the chance to qualify, and then maybe down the road if I qualified, myself and Stephen could box off to go to Rio.

"But not even to get that chance, to go and try to qualify, is where I feel a little, not bitter, but a little bit let down by the way things have panned out.”

Steven Donnelly (right) has secured Ireland's only welterweight place at Rio 2016
Steven Donnelly (right) has secured Ireland's only welterweight place at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

The 28-year-old from County Wexford also feels that the current qualification format goes against the principle of the amateur roots of the Olympic Games and feels he is good enough to be a part of the Irish contingent at this summer’s Games.

A total of 250 places are available in the men's boxing tournament at Rio 2016 and are being allocated by the International Boxing Association (AIBA). 

A total of 17 have been awarded through the WSB and 20 in AIBA Pro Boxing. 

Another 23 were awarded at last year's AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha.

One hundred and fifteen places will be allocated through four Olympic qualifying tournaments due to take place between February and April.

The remaining 26 places will be awarded to the remaining APB and WSB boxers in a special Olympic qualifying event. 

“Boxing in the Olympics is an amateur sport," he said.

"Having come through the amateur route, to be told that the World Series of Boxing, a semi-pro route, is going to take priority over the amateur route, doesn't make sense to me or some fighters.

"But that's just the way it is now, I can't really dwell on it.

“I feel that given the chance of going to a qualifier, I could qualify.

“I feel I'm definitely good enough to go to Rio and it's disappointing.

"If you were allowed to qualify more than one per country at each weight, we could actually represent Ireland with a couple of boxers at each weight.

“That's how competitive we are.”