Kellie Harrington felt a massive sense of relief after finally qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Dubliner booked her spot on the plane thanks to a brilliant performance against reigning professional world champion Maiva Hamadouche in Paris yesterday evening.
It brought to an end the most prolonged qualification process in Olympic boxng history and was final step of a long road for Harrington.
Having won 2018 World Championship gold, Harrington was earmarked not just as possible 2020 Olympian but was put down as a medal cert by most.
After carrying that pressure over two injury-hampered years the Sherrif street talent saw qualification pushed back by over a year due to the pandemic, not to mention the change in format, that lessened the routes to Japan.
Then on top of that, a hard-hitting, experienced, all-action, reigning world profesional champion was placed between the amateur and a spot on the plane to Tokyo.
So when Harrington did eventually get over the line relief was the overiding emotion.
“It is just a massive sense of relief knowing that it’s done,” Harrington said after been confirmed unamious victor over the IBF srap holder.
“I have had a tough draw, meeting a professional world champion in an amateur competition like this. That is a big thing to do.”
To secure her slot Harrington had to produce in one of the most eagerly anticipated amateur match ups since the pandemic shut down – and she did just that.
The popular talent was at her brilliant best as she out boxed a maurading fighter with 18 profesional knockouts to her name for two rounds – and then meet her head on in the final frame.
Harrington was delighted with the display and even shocked by the levels she reached.
“I am just really happy with my performance. I had to dig deep. I’ve never fought like that before so I am actually shocked at myself. The plan was to keep her off, but she is quite hard to keep off. Plan B was to just meet her and I felt I was landing the cleaner shots.”