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Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine to carry the Irish flag at Olympic Opening Ceremony

Boxers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine will carry the Irish flag in the athlete’s parade at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

It will prove a historic as well as a special moment for both as they become the first pair to carry the flag at an Opening Ceremony.

Team Ireland made the decision as they look to do their part in the ‘monumental move’ within the Olympic family to strive for gender equality.

All participating nations were been invited to nominate a male and female athlete to carry the flag and Ireland obliged by selected two of the seven-strong boxing team.

Harrington and Irish Boxing captain Irvine will lead the line at the Opening Ceremony, which takes place on Friday the 23 July 2021 at 12 noon Irish time (8pm local time).

Boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, with sixteen of the thirty-one Irish medals having been won by boxers.

Irvine is competing in his second Olympic Games, while Harrington is embarking on her first, and is going into the tournament as one of the top-seeded boxers in the lightweight (-60kg) category.

It’s not the first time Team Ireland have looked to boxing for the flag bearer. Indeed, Harrington and Irvine become the eighth and ninth fighters to be given the honour.

Kildare heavyweight Matt Flanagan was the first boxer to carry the flag and did so at the 1928 Games.

Tony ‘Socks’ Byrne, a Melbourne medal winner, marched with the flag in 1956 and bronze medal winner Jim McCourt was the bearer the last time the Games visited Tokyo in 1956.

In Seoul and 1988 ‘The Pocket Rocket’ Wayne McCullough had the honour four years before he won win silver in Barcelona.

Francie Barrett was the flag bearer for 1996 and the Atlanta Games while Katie Taylor started the London 2012 Games just like she finished them, smiling in the spotlight.

Three-time Olympian Paddy Barnes was the last to be a boxing bearer as he waved the tri colour at the Opening Ceremony in Rio five years ago.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years