Kellie Harrington’s family ‘absolutely blown away’ after boxer’s semi-final win

Harrington’s brother is ‘over the moon’ for Kellie as she guarantees spot in Olympic final

 Yvonne and Christy Harrington parents of Irish Boxer Kelly Harrington and her brother Joel (Right) and neighbour Deborah Kelly (Right) celebrating her Olympic semi final victory outside their home on Portland Row in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Yvonne and Christy Harrington parents of Irish Boxer Kelly Harrington and her brother Joel (Right) and neighbour Deborah Kelly (Right) celebrating her Olympic semi final victory outside their home on Portland Row in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Screams and shouts could be heard all along Portland Row in Dublin’s north inner city early on Thursday morning as boxer Kellie Harrington secured at least a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Neighbours in their pyjamas and draped in tri-colours hurried down to Harrington’s family home shortly before 7am where her father Christy, mother Yvonne and brother Joel emerged teary-eyed and in jubilant form.

Harrington (31) won her silver medal bout in the Kokugikan Arena in a split decision over Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee and will meet Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira in the lightweight final on Sunday.

Standing outside their redbrick home covered in bunting, cards and posters, Mr Harrington said he was “blown away” by his daughter’s performance, describing her as “a little treasure”.

“When she won, we went mad. He [pointing to son Joel] nearly went through the roof...the dog was running around in circles,” he said.

Harrington’s mother Yvonne said she couldn’t watch the fight and instead stayed in the back garden “praying and drinking tea”.

“I heard shouting coming from behind (the house), and I heard these shouting and I came in, everybody was screaming. I knew she had won when I heard the shouting from the flats behind,” she said.

She said she was “delighted” for her daughter, who is “probably feeling very emotional” after her win and “missing everybody”.

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“She loves the community, there are great people in this community, salt of the earth, they really are. Everybody is behind her,” she said.

Harrington’s brother Joel said it was a tense watch but that “we always have belief in her as we know what she’s capable of”.

“We were all just screaming and shouting. It’s just numbness. My sister is in an Olympic final. It’s just incredible. I’m lost for words,” he said.

Harrington’s family said they are confident ahead of the final this weekend and will watch the fight at home.

“We know Kellie’s capable of winning it, if everything falls into place,” said Christy.

“It’s the exact same as today’s fight,” added Joel Harrington. “If Kellie performs to her best, she wins. She’s the best boxer in the world at her weight, so if she performs to her best, she’ll win. If she doesn’t, it’s going to be tough.”

Well over an hour after Harrington’s win, cars beeping and shouts of “Go on Kellie, Go for Gold” could still be heard along Portland Row, where locals continued to celebrate and discuss the fight.

Lily Fagan (84), who neighbours describe as “the Queen of Portland Row” said “Kellie is our hero”.

“I woke at 12.30am, 3.30am, 4.30am, 5.30am and I thought ‘ah here’ and went downstairs and my daughter had the telly on.

“I was up all night but it was worth it. Who would want to sleep with all this excitement? She’s a legend, she’s excellent, she’s everything a mother would want in a daughter.”

Neighbour Bernie Harkins said she woke up at 4.30am to watch the fight and is “100 per cent sure” Harrington will secure gold.

“She’s an amazing young girl and she’s dedicated her whole life to this. Everyone is walking around with smiles on their faces, it’s fantastic,” she said.

“Everyone has been stuck inside with the lockdown and it’s great to be able to get out and see each other and celebrate with each other.

“We want a big screen on the road so we can all watch it together outdoors. We’ll be staying up all night to watch it.”

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