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Proud as punch Kellie Harrington 'overwhelmed' as she secures guaranteed Olympic bronze medal 

She is now through to Thursday’s semi-final and at worst she is guaranteed a bronze medal.

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Kellie Harrington gestures after her quarter-final success in Tokyo. Photo: Reuters

Kellie Harrington gestures after her quarter-final success in Tokyo. Photo: Reuters

Kellie Harrington gestures after her quarter-final success in Tokyo. Photo: Reuters

Kellie Harrington has won Ireland’s fourth medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 31-year-old Dubliner beat Imane Khelif from Algeria in the lightweight quarter-final at the Kokugikan Arena on a unanimous points decision. Harrington had the win wrapped up after two rounds with the judges scoring the contest 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-29 in favour of Harrington.

She is now through to Thursday’s semi-final and at worst she is guaranteed a bronze medal.

It is Ireland’s second boxing medal at the Games, their 18th in total in the sport since 1952 and the second won by an Irish female boxer since women were first allowed compete in the Games nine years ago.

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Kellie Harrington of Ireland, right, and Imane Khelif of Algeria

Kellie Harrington of Ireland, right, and Imane Khelif of Algeria

Kellie Harrington of Ireland, right, and Imane Khelif of Algeria

Even though the 2018 world champion and number one seed at this tournament was the overwhelming favourite against the 22-year-old who had no record of international achievement, Harrington still had to do the business for nine minutes between the ropes.

The Algerian had a significant height advantage over Harrington. Khelif started aggressively and wasn’t afraid to move forward while Harrington was content to box from the back foot.

But the fight became more tactical as the round progressed. It was close but four of the judges gave the Irish champion the round.

Harrington could now afford to relax slightly knowing that the Algerian had to attack. Harrington comfortably avoided most of her shots but was reluctant to commit herself. She still landed the better shots and all five judges gave her the round to put her in an unassailable position with a two point lead on four of the judges’ cards. Once she avoided a knock down in the final round she was through to the semi-final of the Olympics.

"I’m overwhelmed with emotions at the moment,” said Harrington afterwards.

"Sometimes you think of getting here and never think of getting medals or anything. Sometimes I think I am lucky (but) I can’t be lucky winning all these things and then end up here and have a bronze medal in the Olympic Games.

"Everything I have achieved I owe to Noel Burke, who is my club coach at home and I owe it to these men and the rest of the high performance team.

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"And not only this, I owe it to my team-mates as well for all the sparring and the preparation and all the support they have given me out here and we give each other. It’s just fantastic.

"And the support I am getting from the community back home. I have heard that it is lit back home and I am just so happy and my emotions when it comes to this, because to be able to give them something to be happy about, to sing and dance for. I am just one person lifting a little nation.”

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