WITH her injury troubles firmly in the past, World Champion boxer Kellie Harrington is optimistic for the future and believes the use of data analytics can take her to the next level.
The Dubliner sustained a thumb injury at the European Games, which forced her to miss the final and has subsequently cost her most of the second half of the year, but she is now nearing a return to the ring.
The setback, which also cost her the chance to face European bronze medallist Amy Broadhurst at the national finals late last year, was particularly disappointing as it followed a 2018 in which the 29-year-old enjoyed the best year of her career – winning lightweight World Championships gold in New Delhi.
However, Tokyo has her full attention now and Harrington believes she is in great shape to secure her place in the Far East should she get the nod to compete at the European Olympic Qualifying Tournament in London in March.
“Since SAS came on board, it has helped me so much with my preparation and it is going to help me qualify for Tokyo at the qualifiers in March in London,” Harrington said speaking at a media event which highlighted the benefits of data analytics for elite athletes and coaches.
“I only sat down with my coach yesterday and we were looking ahead to the European qualifiers and we were talking about how much analytics is going to help me in trying to qualify.
“We can understand the weaknesses [of my opponents] through the data, I’ll be able to do my bit in training and the coach will be able to relay back to me what he has seen in the numbers.
“The analytics also allow me to see what is working for me and what isn’t, if I use a jab I can see what’s coming after the jab. I can learn a lot from the analytics.”
Harrington has benefitted as part of a multi-year partnership between SAS and the Sport Ireland Institute which runs through to March 2021.
The partnership sees SAS provide software and consultancy services to help the Sport Ireland Institute be more data-driven and, crucially, drive improved training and performance in order to enhance the success of Irish athletes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For now, swimming and boxing is the focus of the work but it could be expanded in the future and Harrington is already seeing the benefits from analysing performance data..
She added: “I use analytics in my training a lot, my coaches go through previous and future opponents and look at all their good and bad attributes.
“They carry that into the training sessions and then have me do stuff that would work against a certain opponent from the information that they’ve got.
“The analytics is very tailored into what I’m going to do, it really helps.”