Kellie Harrington enjoying High Performance break but eyes January return

Kellie Harrington has taken the Olympic delay on the chin and smiled back.

Only Ireland’s third ever World Amateur Champion was deemed Ireland’s best medal hope heading into the Tokyo Olympic Games.

This summer could have seen the already popular figure grab more spotlight, achieve at the highest level and quite possibly force professional promoters to chase down her signature.

However, the Games have been pushed back 12 months and qualification still has to be achieved.

The delay may prove positive in terms of some of the young talent coming through, but with Harrington at her peak, she’d be forgiven for bemoaning the fact it didn’t play out this summer.

Yet her reaction is quite the opposite, speaking to RTE she explains: “It’s been grand as I just accepted it.”

“It was just disappointing not to get the first qualifiers out of the way, I feel like I have a debt hanging over my head. 

“We had a Zoom team meeting with Bernard [Dunne] and January will possibly when we are back, so that is still a long way away,” she added

“We’ll be able to get back training in August and go out to the Institute but I don’t know if we will be able to spar. 

“[Normally], we are out there Tuesday to Friday and do two sessions a day. So it could be strength and conditioning in the morning and a boxing session in the afternoon, bags and pads, and the next day it could be running in the morning then with some sparing or technical work. 

“Everything is there from high-performance coaches, physios and nutritionists, you have everything out there.” 

January does seem a lot wait considering athletes are keen to secure Olympic qualification, but Harrington is enjoying the break from the pressures of the sport.

“I’m loving it not being out there [ in the High Performance]. It probably sounds terrible but it’s nice not to be around the team all the time.

“I’m enjoying having a bit of normality back in my life and going back to work and then doing my own bit of training at home. 

“I feel like I have a more normal life now during the Covid and I feel like I am gaining a bit of normality by not being out at the Institute, so it is like a reverse-effect for me. 

“You are a different person out there, you are on edge, always in competition mode, looking after your diet, making weight and close enough to your [boxing] weight all the time.”

Those comments might unsettle some fans or those backing the Inner City Dub to win Olympic gold next summer.

However, they can rest assured Harrington while enjoying a change of setting hasn’t changed her work load.  

“I’m training just as hard at home, although you do miss the competitive edge, but overall, I do feel like I will come back fresher from it. 

“I have the bag out the back and I do plenty of shadow boxing, while my partner, Mandy, watches and corrects me if I am dropping my hands or not moving my feet, so I kind of still have a coach in Mandy – but it is hard for her to coach me and then live with me.” 

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]