| LONDON, July 31
LONDON, July 31 His London Olympics may have
only lasted nine minutes but Jamel Herring will not be getting
down about it.
A veteran Marine of two tours of duty in Iraq, the U.S. team
boxing captain knows he has his men to think about.
The 26-year-old sergeant, who served as a field electrician
during the Iraq war, is just part of the military backbone of an
American team led by officer Basheer Abdullah, head coach of the
army's boxing programme for 15 years.
Herring saw many friends die during his service but also
lost his daughter to cot death shortly after his return,
something that was at the forefront of his mind when went down
on bended knee upon entering the ring on Tuesday.
"Everybody back at home knows what I've been through, I've
been through a lot of ups and downs," the circumspect
light-welterweight told reporters after his 19-9 loss to
Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov.
"From the first time I stepped in the ring to the last, I
was thinking about her (his daughter Ariyanah), my team, my
country, the Marine corps. A lot was going through my head."
A native of Long Island, just east of Manhattan, Herring was
in high school when New York's World Trade Centre was destroyed
on Sept. 11, 2001.
School friends lost relatives in the attacks, prompting the
then 15-year-old to decide to enlist.
He does not know yet whether he will re-enlist when his
service ends in a few months, although a harder question to
answer is whether it means more to be an Olympian or to have
served for his country.
"I was a proud Marine and proud to defend my country," he
said. Being a New Yorker and so close to the 9/11 incident in
high school, I wanted just to do something good in life. Make
something out of myself.
"I appreciated the both of them," he added, referring to the
"I wish I could have done better but not everyone gets to
the Olympics so when you do, it's a big accomplishment on your
resume. I'll always be an Olympian."
With seven American male boxers and three females still
chasing medals, their captain knows he still has plenty of work
to do in London.
"It hurts, no one likes to get beat but I've got to keep my
head up, I'm team captain. If I'm down basically my team is
down," he said.
"I don't want nobody to feel down, I fought hard. I don't
want them to feel bad for one man, one man's gone down, but
we've still got out whole team."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)