Irish Times view on Kellie Harrington winning gold: Success must be built on

Dubliner has done herself and her community proud with her honesty and humility

August 8th will forever more be a date etched in Irish sporting history. Twenty nine years to the day since Michael Carruth won Ireland's first ever Olympic gold medal in boxing, Kellie Harrington emulated that feat in Tokyo yesterday with a display of precision and power that not alone secured the ultimate prize in sport but also gave a huge fillip to the country.

In an enthralling fight with Brazil’s Beatriz Ferrira, the number one ranked fighter in the 60kg division, Harrington dug very deep to recover from an opening round deficit with the judges to dominate the rest of the bout, eventually running out a unanimous winner.

The manner of the victory spoke volumes for Harrington's unique talent. It was also a huge endorsement of how great coaching, under the baton of high performance director Bernard Dunne, has turned the sport around from the disaster of a blank Rio Olympics to two medals in Japan.

However, even the best coaches will concede that outstanding sportswomen and men possess something that separates them from the rest of their teammates. Kellie Harrington is one of those figures, combining great talent with a selfless attitude to life. Her honesty and humility have captured the public imagination and brought a welcome focus to the positive side and extraordinary spitit of Dublin’s inner city, so often the subject of adverse publicity.

Nothing illustrated better the pride of the local community in her achievements than the huge crowds who gathered at dawn yesterday to watch an open air screening of the fight. That pride has been a huge motivating factor in Harrington’s climb to the pinnacle of her sport and should be harnessed by the governing bodies of sport in this country to nurture the next generation of sporting heroes.

It’s not very often that such an inspiring sportswoman as Kellie Harrington comes along. It would be an opportunity squandered if her legacy is merely memories of a thrilling week in August, 2021. She certainly deserves better that that ,as she joins the pantheon of Irish sporting legends.