BOXING: Kellie will relish ‘noise’ as crowd returns in Paris

by Jonny Stapleton
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Kellie Harrington will look to drown out the noise as she bids to make Irish boxing Olympic history over the coming weeks.

The Dubliner travels to Paris and the latest installment of the Games looking to become Irish boxing’s first-ever double Olympic gold medal winner.

The decorated St Mary’s BC boxer claimed gold in the relative silence of an empty Ryōgoku Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo in 2021.

The backdrop will be different in Paris, the 34-year-old will contest for the most precious of sporting medals in front of large Arena Paris Nord and Rolland Garros Stadium crowds.

The reigning Olympic champion notes that will be the biggest difference when it comes to chasing a second gold. There may be advantages to having a large and vocal support, particularly for the Irish fighters, but the inner-city favourite suggests she will try focus on matters in the ring not the noise levels out of it. 

Speaking when her selection was made official, Harrington, who qualified for the Games last summer, said, “I’m heading out for my second Olympic Games, and I can’t wait. It’s a big team, we have ten boxers, which is fantastic. The biggest difference between Tokyo and this Olympics is that there will be people in the crowd, and with that a lot of noise, so it will be all about us controlling our emotions.”

While Harrington could make history by winning gold, she is happy to have already ensured her place in history by being part of Team 100.

“I’m glad to be part of history, as this will be the hundredth year that Team Ireland competed in the Olympic Games – so we are already part of history.”

Harrington and fellow Dubliner Jack Marley were two of only three Irish boxers to be qualified. The lightweight hopeful is third seed at 60kg behind number one seed China’s Yang Wenlu, a bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships in New Delhi, and Beatrice Ferreira the IBF professional world champion Harrington beat to win gold in Tokyo.

Monkstown’s Marley who will make his Olympic debut in Paris is the number-seven seed in a division in which there are just sixteen boxers competing.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland officially selected the ten boxers that will compete for Team Ireland at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer late last week. Ireland will field boxers in all female categories in the competition which takes place from the 27 July – 10 August 2024. Two of the 10 are Dubs, in Harrington and Marley.

Kellie Harrington during the Team Ireland Paris 2024 boxing team announcement at the Sport Ireland Institute in Dublin last week.

Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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