Tokyo 2020 Day 13: Kellie Harrington secures at least silver; Natalya Coyle makes fine start

Diving final just out of reach for Tanya Watson as golfers move up the leaderboard

  • Boxing: Kellie Harrington guarantees herself at least silver with lightweight semi-final win (click here to read full report) against Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand.
  • Diving: Tanya Watson misses out on women's 10m platform final.
  • Golf: Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire each finish their women's individual strokeplay second round on four-under-par 138 in tied-11th position (click here for second round report).
  • Modern pentathlon: Natalya Coyle makes an impressive start in the fencing, leaving her in joint third place.
  • Track cycling: Mark Downey finishes 17th in the men's omnium track cycling.
  • Athletics: David Kenny finishes in 29th in the men's 20km walk, Andrew Coscoran finishes 15th in the men's 1,500m semi-finals. Rounding off the day is the men's 50km walk which begins at 9.30pm and will include Brendan Boyce and Alex Wright.


Kellie Harrington is into the lightweight final and guaranteed at least a silver medal after winning her semi-final bout against Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand on a 3-2 split decision.

Beatriz Ferreira is now all that stands between Harrington and an Olympic gold in the women's lightweight boxing final (Sunday morning, 6am Irish time). She defeated Finnish fighter Mira Potkonen in the second semi-final.

After the fight Harrington said that her patience was the key to victory: “It was a close fight. I knew it was going to be a chess match. I fought her in 2018 in the world final. It was tricky then, it was a chess match then, and it was a chess match today. She didn’t want to give anything, I didn’t want to give anything, but eventually someone had to.

“It was patience that was key, I kept my patience and she didn’t. And that’s what won me the fight. The coaches were in the corner telling me, ‘stay patient’ and giving me tactics to throw and it worked.”


The Portland Row boxer says her past defeats and heartbreak were key to securing at least an Olympic silver medal in these games.

“It’s fantastic. Olympic silver medallist. That’s the stuff that people dream about. Many tried to get there, many don’t have what it takes to succeed because they don’t have the willpower, the determination, the focus, the dedication. I eat, sleep and breathe boxing.

“I’ve had heartbreak. I know what it is to fail and I know how hard it is to pick yourself back up after that. This is why I am who I am, and why I am here today – because I’m not afraid of failure. I know what it is. I’m Kellie Harrington. I’m myself and I make my own pathway.”


Stephanie Meadow - with a second round 66 - and Leona Maguire - with a 67 - made upward moves on the leaderboard in the women's individual strokeplay golf, each finishing on four-under-par 138 in tied-11th position as a storm forecast threatened to cut the tournament short.

World number one Nelly Korda fired a second round 62 for a midway total of 13-under-par 129 to claim a four stroke midway lead over her closest pursuers.

The sweltering heat remains a factor, with tournament organisers implementing additional heat mitigation measures including provision of umbrellas on the first tee and roving carts providing ice and cooling towels to players, caddies and officials.

“I just kind of managed it a bit better today I think,” said Meadow after her round. “I still didn’t have my best stuff but I gave myself a little bit more room on left pins and didn’t short side myself so that was really the key and is always part of shooting under par.

“I guess I hope I can start like that tomorrow. There’s a lot of wedges on the last few, they’re easy-ish holes and they moved the tee on 18 up today so all of those things contribute but I finally got comfortable, hit good shots and started to see it a bit better.”

An approaching tropical storm forecast to hit on Saturday has prompted organisers to consider cutting the event to 54 holes. “We continue to track the tropical storm which is expected to affect our area beginning Saturday through Sunday,” the International Golf Federation said in a statement after the second round.

“If we are unable to start or complete 72 holes, the Women’s Olympic Golf Competition will revert to a 54-hole event,” the federation said.

Modern pentathlon

Natalya Coyle made an impressive start in the modern pentathlon, racking up 238 points in the ranking round of fencing to leave her in joint third place. Coyle had 23 victories and 12 defeats.

The Meath native though is keeping her feet on the ground despite her excellent start:

"I actually don't know the results but I don't think I'll have a look because pentathlon is one out of five and I know I started off well and that I'm really happy.

"I'm really happy to have done all the training and my coaches justice anyway. I was very pumped that whole way through there whereas normally I conserve a bit of energy but we've got some extra time. I was pretty excited for each hit and yeah, there is a lot of mental energy expended, it is three hours, but it flies by and I can't believe it's over.

"I was really lucky in the holding camp in Fukuroi that Team Ireland organised to bring some good fencers out there and I think I got justice for that in the piste today, they definitely helped.

“Normally I say don’t ride the highs, but I think I rode them around pretty well around the arena! I try and stay nice and calm between bouts and let it all out in the piste. I’ll have a big day tomorrow.”

The five events are fencing, swimming, show jumping and then a combined cross country and pistol shooting event.

The 30 year-old, competing in her third Olympic Games, will be in action again on Friday at 6.48am (Irish time) swimming the 200m freestyle, then at 7.45am she’ll have a bonus round of fencing before show jumping at 9.15am. The medals will be decided then at the final event - the individual laser run at 11.30am.


A historic place in an Olympic diving final proved just out of reach for Tanya Watson as she finished 15th best overall after the semi-final round of the 10m platform.

Already the first Irish woman to compete in Olympic diving, the 19 year-old needed to finish in the top 12 to go through to the medal-deciding dives later in the day.

Watson did put herself in contention early on with two excellent opening dives: Her first dive earned her a score of 64.00, placing her ninth, and she followed that up with a 63.00 which by then moved her up to seventh.

However she slipped back down with her third dive, the 39.15 her lowest score of the morning and that’s what cost her. She rounded up with two further quality dives, and her final score of 278.15 put her 15th overall.

“Making the semi-finals was amazing,” said Watson. “To be able to go out there again and dive was great. I just love flying through the air. I was nervous up there a bit but at the end of the day, once I am at the end of the board, I am focusing on something specific so I am just trying to do the best that I can with that really.

“My first dive was solid. A good dive for me and I met the coaching points that I was asked to do. Second dive was probably the best I’ve done that dive in a while, so I was really happy with that one! My third dive, I met some of the targets, but unfortunately, I kicked a bit late so therefore I over cooked it a bit. I was just so joyful to be in the Olympics like I was a bit sad about it, but I still had two dives to go.

“Fourth dive, I pulled it back and I am always proud of myself when I can pull it back and do another good dive so reverse has been interesting in training so to hit it twice in a competition right now for me is great because that used to be my worst dive in competition. I am really really happy that I managed to pull that off. And then my last dive I had a pretty good take-off, I just came out of it a bit early, a bit splashy but you know what, sixes I am happy with that to be honest. I am just chuffed to be here.”

Watson is certainly set to target Paris 2024, only her immediate focus after Tokyo will be her university studies in chemistry. “Paris would be cool. I am going to university to study Chemistry now so I am really excited for that. You know what, I have not been able to meet anybody this year really. It has actually been so nice to talk to other divers, to see people I haven’t seen in years and like just meet new people as well, that’s been cool.

“So I am really excited to go to University and study again, meet other people and yeah, I think Paris would be really cool but I have to assess the next few years as they come as it is really hard to say what I will be doing in a year’s time because I don’t know.”

Track cycling

Ireland's Mark Downey finished 17th overall in the men's omnium track cycling. He finished 16th in the scratch race and 19th in the tempo race. The 25-year-old was the second rider dispatched in the elimination race, before finishing 17th place in the concluding points race.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Downey told reporters. “I’m an athlete, I like to compete, but look it’s my first omnium at this level. I threw the kitchen sink at it. It’s not a banging result, it is what it is.

“We got this race off the back of the madison, so I’m looking forward to going again with Felix. He’s super motivated back in the hotel so I’m not too disappointed with the result. The level we know is really, really high here so I can’t be too disappointed, and we’ll move forward again.”

Head coach and 2012 Olympian Martyn Irvine added: “It’s not the race we wanted but it shows we haven’t focused on it in preparation and training. Given the year that’s in it, we were just happy to get a start on the race. It has set us up to build from here, the level has raised, it’s amazing to see what people have actually done through Covid.

“We have shifted our focus to the main event of this week for us, the last two years we have focused on the men’s madison and that’s the main goal on our side.”

Downey will partner Felix English in the men’s madison on Saturday.


Andrew Coscoran's Olympics are over after a 10th-place finish in the semi-finals of the men's 1500m. Coscoran finished less than two-tenths of a second outside his personal best - clocking a time of 3:35.84. Britain's Jake Wightman was first across the line in 3:33.48.

“I ran 3:35.8 there, which is pretty good, but I’m still way off,” Coscoran told RTÉ after the race. “The standard is insane . . . I’m just surprised.”

Ireland's David Kenny finished in 29th place in the men's 20km race walk in Sapporo. Italy's Massimo Stano won the gold medal. The 22-year-old Kerryman finished in a time of 1:26:54, while Stano came home in 1:21:05.

Earlier, down at the Olympic Stadium, the American track and field team continued to have some mixed luck. No man has yet won a gold medal on the track, and the two big chances went missing here on Thursday.

First, the men's 4x100m relay missed out on the final, only managing sixth in their heat, as Jamaica posted the fastest time of the round, 37.82, looking very good. Italy, helped by 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, also clocked a national record of 37.95 to advance, with hosts Japan going through also.

In one of the biggest shocks on the track so far Jamaica's Hansle Parchment also beat Grant Holloway to win the 110m hurdles title.

Holloway was the red hot favourite, and the American was up for most of the race, only for Parchment, who had only placed third at the Jamaican championships, to nail it over the last two barriers and take the win in 13.04. Ronald Levy also won bronze for Jamaica in 13.10.

The US have won a track gold medal in men’s running events at every Olympics going back to 1896, only the chances of them winning one in Tokyo are getting increasingly slim.

It took them seven days but the US men did manage to win a medal on the field, Ryan Crouser dominating the men's shot put to defend his title.

Crouser produced a brilliant series of throws, three times breaking his own Olympic record, finishing up with a best of 23.30m, just 7cm off his world record set at the US trials in June. Joe Kovaks made it a one-two for the US, winning silver in 22.65, but that wait for a men's gold medal on the track continues.

Portugal's Pedro Pablo Pichardo also lorded the men's triple jump, his winning distance of 17.98m, the second-best jump in Olympic history.

Zhu Yaming won a surprise silver with 17.57m, just two centimetres shy of the Chinese record. Bronze medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango also made history by becoming Burkina Faso's first ever Olympic medallist. With that Burkina Faso becomes the 100th country to earn an Olympic medal in athletics.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics