Kellie Harrington claims fourth Olympic medal for Ireland with dominant win

Dublin boxer will now face Thai opponent on Thursday for place in Olympic final

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington (red) and Imane Khelif of Algeria (blue) during their lightweight quarter-final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington (red) and Imane Khelif of Algeria (blue) during their lightweight quarter-final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington remained on track to repeat Katie Taylor’s Olympic gold medal win at the London 2012 Olympics by guaranteeing herself a bronze medal at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo and becoming only the second Irish woman to win an Olympic medal in boxing.

Harrington won by unanimous decision over the long limbed Imane Khelfi 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 to earn a place in the semi-final of the women’s lightweight competition and will meet Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee in the semi-final.

“I don’t feel anything, I just feel emotions. I don’t know what way I feel,” said an emotional Harrington after the bout.

“I feel very relieved and happy. Happy for the coaches here who have put the work in, my club coach Noel Burke at home, happy for my friends and family in Ireland. Just happy that I can give people back home something to celebrate.

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“Very, very awkward opponent. Sticking her tongue out at me in there. I enjoyed it because when somebody starts doing that you know you have got into their head and you know that they are going to start throwing shots and missing and she did. She was throwing them like from Easter in her arm to the length of Christmas.”

It was an awkward fight for the Dubliner against a taller opponent with a long reach. But Harrington remained patient and fell into a cagey hit and run strategy, all the time avoiding the long jabs of Khelfi.

Harrington reacts after her win. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Harrington reacts after her win. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Four of the five judges gave the 31-year-old from Dublin the first round with the second continuing in the same fashion, Harrington keeping her distance and scoring with more accurate jabs and landing her back right hand. It was a better round than the first for Harrington with all five judges siding with her.

At that stage, two rounds down, Khelfi had to do something extreme to win but it wasn’t within her to trouble the 2018 World Champion. Harrington continued to keep her distance, scoring when opportunity arrived and saw out the contest with the five judges again awarding her the third round and fight.

“I knew she was going to be long and awkward. To be honest with you it wasn’t a spectacular fight. It wasn’t anything to write home about. I knew what I had to do to win and that’s a champion’s mindset where they do what they have to do to be able to get the rounds and scrape by.

“I am just happy to get the job done. So I will just recover now and get ready for my next opponent. And again like I said what will be will be.”

Harrington meets Seesondee on Thursday at 6am for a place in the Olympic final.

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