Kellie’s short term focus

by Stephen Findlater

WHILE the first set of Olympic boxing qualifiers are just over a month away, you might expect the ins and outs of the tournament to be all-consuming for Kellie Harrington.

But the Dubliner admits she doesn’t “have a clue” about the format and is not the least bit concerned for the time being.

“I don’t even look at who is in my weight or how the qualifier works,” she told Dublin Gazette at the National Dairy Council’s Everything Starts with Milk campaign.

“The coaches will just tell me who is up next and that’s it. I am not looking at anything else or who is on the same side of the draw as me, who is seeded one or two. I don’t care.

“When you start doing that, your focus is shifted from what is in front of you. I focus literally on what is on in that moment. There’s no point worrying about it now because it wastes all your energy. That’s energy I need to be putting into my training sessions and my sleeping. I am not saying the Olympics isn’t the [big] thing but that is how I break it down.”

For the record, her first chance for the 2018 lightweight champion to qualify for Tokyo is in mid-March in London where six places are on offer.

Failing that, another three or four spots will be on the line at the final qualifier in Paris in May.

Harrington had spent the back end of 2019 out of action with a hand injury but she hails an increase in her dairy intake as key to her recovery.

Any worries it would linger into this year were appeased with her silver medal at the Standja multi-nations tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“It was just good to get away and test myself and my hand. It was a multi nation tournament, a really high standard which has been going on 71 years so I was delighted to box in it!

“Mainly, though, it was about sussing out my hand, seeing what it was like in a tournament, throwing it out at all kinds of angles and landing it in different ways.”

The hand came through with no ill effects, giving her confidence going into a four-week training block before she, eventually, zones in on the specifics of the Olympic qualifiers.

And she hopes she can give her community another reason to celebrate.

“Growing up in the innercity is fantastic – you get to see all walks of life. There are hidden agendas or mollycoddling. You grow up a lot quicker. It’s made me the person I am today and also made me want to do well for my community.

“When I do well – or anyone from the community like Troy Parrott or Wes Hoolahan or Olivia O’Toole – everyone jumps up and gives them the credit they deserve and it lifts the whole place.”

“It’s amazing to see that spirit lifted from one person and giving happiness to so many.”

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