Aug. 8, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Boxer Kellie Harrington cried tears of joy atop the medals podium in Tokyo Sunday as Amhran na Bhfian rang out to Ireland’s latest Olympic gold champion.
Harrington secured gold in the women’s lightweight final on the last day of the Games with a commanding performance over reigning world champion Beatriz Ferreira.
The Dubliner battled back from losing the opening round on three of the five judges’ scorecards to claim a unanimous victory.
Harrington was caught with a powerful left hook from Ferreira in the opening minute but steadied herself to take the second round decisively with all five judges in agreement.
Ferreira was better in the final round but Harrington landed a big left, while the pair traded big blows in the dying seconds before embracing each other at the final bell.
“It’s just fantastic. I can’t wait to get back home,” she told RTÉ Sport.
“I’m absolutely exhausted to be honest. What a journey, it’s just fantastic.”
She added that despite the weight of expectation, she did not feel the pressure. Harrington was widely expected to deliver gold coming into the games.
“There have been times in my career when people say the whole country is behind you. This time I really, really feel the whole country is behind me,” she said.
“People might say, ‘that’s a pressure’ and you might feel you have a big weight on your shoulders but I actually really didn’t. I knew no matter what happened out here, whether it was gold, silver or whatever, I knew I’d made myself proud and I know I’m making the people of Ireland proud regardless of the colour of the medal.
“Just being here and putting our little nation on the map, this is the stuff of dreams.”
Harrington’s win was Ireland’s second gold medal at the Tokyo Games – and eleventh of all time – with Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy also securing gold in the lightweight men’s double sculls.
She became just the third Irish athlete to claim Olympic boxing gold after Katie Taylor and Michael Carruth.
President Michael D Higgins took to Twitter to congratulate Harrington.
“My warmest congratulations to Kellie Harrington on winning her gold medal at the Olympic Games. Hers is an exceptional achievement, and she is an inspiration for us all.”
“My warmest congratulations to Kellie Harrington on winning her gold medal at the Olympic Games. Hers is an exceptional achievement, and she is an inspiration for us all.” #Tokyo2020 @sportireland @TeamIreland
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) August 8, 2021