Kellie Harrington assures she will be in love with boxing by the time she heads to the city of romance next year.
Speaking upon qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics in Poland early last week, Harrington revealed she had struggled at times to remain motivated and had on occasion felt the pressure since winning gold in Tokyo in 2021.
The popular Dub got her mojo back just in time to qualify for a second Olympics and proceeded to add European Games gold to the Olympic, World Championship and European Championship gold medals that already decorate her mantlepiece.
Speaking after stepping onto the top of the podium in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, the St Mary’s BC star predicted the cycle may continue over the next 12 months, suggesting there will be stages of turmoil in her relationship with a sport she excels at.
However, she promises she will be mid the on-stage of the on-off relationship by next summer.
“The love was always there, I just lost it a little, found it again, and I’m sure I’ll lose it again before Paris,” she laughed. “It’s a love-hate relationship, but I always find the love to keep it going.”
Harrington, who is now a bonafide Irish boxing great put to bed any concerns she had about her form or ability still to shine at the top level of one of the most competitive divisions in amateur boxing with the brilliant run to European Games gold.
The Inner City favourite proved she is still the lightweight’s heavy hitter and the woman to defeat in the division via four wins in Poland.
A quarter-final victory secured her Olympic qualification before she beat 11-1 professional Estelle Mossely of France in a battle of Olympic Champions in the semi-final.
Serbia’s Natalia Shadrina was accounted for in the final as the 33-year-old stepped to the top of another podium to win a tournament that seems to have been extremely important personally.
“I’m going out there to perform and to come back and make myself feel good, make myself proud,” she said after that bout. “The last one was for the country, when we all needed it. This one is for me.
“I did what I needed to do, got over the line, got my (Olympic) qualification, gold medal, I’m happy out. I’m looking forward to going home to my family, to Mandy, to taking a break and regrouping and trying to work on tactics.”
Harrington who many believe could become Irish boxing’s first-ever double Olympic gold medal winner started her final slow, but still had enough about her to make sure she was ahead going into the final three-minute session.
Something she was aware of thanks to the strong Irish support in the Nowy Targ Arena.
“When I came back to the corner, obviously the coaches get the score, but I really didn’t need the score off the coaches because I could hear all the Irish fans in the stands screaming. I knew I was up then because I could hear the fans. The Irish fans are the best fans in the world.”