“Times like this make me cry” – Emotional Kellie Harrington reacts to Olympic medal win

An emotional Kellie Harrington was as happy with giving Ireland reason to celebrate as she was for herself after winning an Olympic medal in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The St Mary’s BC fighter guaranteed Ireland’s eighteenth Olympic boxing medal and became the seventeenth Irish boxer to secure a place on an Olympic podium by defeating Algerian Imane Khelif at the Kokugikan sumo wrestling arena on Tuesday morning.

A calm, collected and class Harrington was just too good for the emerging 22-year-old talent and won quite comfortably via a unanimous 5-0 scorecard.

That calm and controlled approach wasn’t carried into the post-fight as the popular medal winner’s emotions came to the fore.

“I know I give off the impression that I’m a hard-faced B, but I’m very emotional deep down inside,” said Harrington,

“Times like this make me cry.”

The lightweight, who won Ireland’s second medal of the Games, was also quick to pay tribute and share her success with club coach Noel Burke, High-Performance trainers and tacticians John Conlan and Zaur Antia, as well her family and the country.

“I just feel emotion,” she said. “I feel very relieved and happy, happy for coaches, happy for friends and family in Ireland, happy that I can give people back home something to celebrate.”

Harrington dominated the Olympic quarter-final against a rangy and awkward Algerian. The 31-year-old was aware it wasn’t the most exciting fight but that was of little concern once the scores were readout.

“I knew she was going to be long and awkward,” she continued. “To be honest with you, it wasn’t a spectacular fight. It wasn’t anything to write home about.

“But I did what I had to do to win and that’s what a champion’s mindset – they do what they have to do to be able to pick out the rounds and scrape by,” she added before confirming why she was smiling in the final round.

“A very, very awkward opponent. Sticking her tongue at me and everything in there!

“I enjoyed it because when somebody starts doing that you know you have got into their head and you know that they are going to start throwing shots and missing and she did

“She was throwing them like from Easter in her arm to the length of Christmas!”

“I’m just happy to get the job done, so I will just recover now and get ready for my next opponent.

“And again, like I said, what will be will be. This is just a fantastic journey, it’s not my destination.

“Obviously very emotional, and that’s a reflection on the long journey we had to get here.”

Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee, who overcame Britain’s Caroline Dubois, awaits in the semi-final The two will face eachother on Thursday for a place in the final in what is a repeat of the 2018 World amatuer championships.

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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com