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'Little treasure' Kellie Harrington’s family celebrate her Olympic semi-final win that gives her shot at gold

The lightweight fighter’s native Portland Row erupted as the judges gave Harrington the nod.

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Kellie Harrington

Kellie Harrington

Kellie Harrington

Kellie Harrington’s family has been joyfully celebrating the Dublin fighter’s narrow Olympic semi-final win that takes her through to the Olympic lightweight final and a fight for the gold medal on Sunday. 

The 31-year-old defeated Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee in a tight and tactical semi-final at the Kokugikan Arena this morning by the narrowest of margins on a split 3-2 decision.

Kellie herself said she was lost for words after her historic semi-final victory in Tokyo.

“I’m speechless, I don’t really know how I feel,” said Harrington who will meet world champion Beatriz Ferreira from Brazil in Sunday’s lightweight gold medal final.

The lightweight fighter’s native Portland Row erupted as the judges gave Harrington the nod.

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Kellie Harrington of Ireland gestures REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Kellie Harrington of Ireland gestures REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Kellie Harrington of Ireland gestures REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Car horns could be heard as jubilant crowds gathered at the family home while Kellie’s brother Joel recounted his sister’s success to RTÉ after her win.

“I’m just numb, my sister is in an Olympic final like, there’s just nothing like it, it’s incredible I just don’t know to say. I wouldn’t be the most emotional but that got them flowing,” he said about his tears.

“It was nervy but I knew Kellie with her coaches, her coaches were excellent throughout the fight, it’s important that they get a massive amount of credit,” he added.

“John Conlan, in particular, in the third round was excellent with her adjustments with her head and then, to be fair, I think she was comfortable in the last round.”

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Kellie Harrington of Ireland walks to the ring

Kellie Harrington of Ireland walks to the ring

Kellie Harrington of Ireland walks to the ring

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Joel said he was “a bag of nerves” watching the semi-final and is “over the moon” for his sister.

“She was her best in the last round, she showed her class and she’s there now. She carries us to the last day and gives the country something to cheer about,” he said.

Speaking outside their home in the north inner city, Harrington’s father, Christy Harrington, said it was “a massive fight” with “two brilliant fighters”.

He said the family were “absolutely blown away” and described his daughter as “a little treasure."

“When she won, we went mad,” he said.

Harrington’s mother Yvonne said she didn’t watch the fight and was instead outside praying.

“I was sitting out the back praying and drinking tea. I heard shouting coming from behind, then I heard them shouting and ran in. Everybody was screaming,” she said.

“I’m delighted for Kellie, for the person she is, she deserves it.”

Ms Harrington said her daughter is “probably feeling very emotional” after her win and “missing everybody”.

“She loves the community, there are great people in this community, salt of the earth, they really are. Everybody is behind her.”

Christy described Kellie as a “gem” and described it as “priceless” how his daughter has flown the flag for Ireland.

When Kelly enters the ring on Sunday morning at roughly 6am Irish time she will become just Ireland’s third ever Olympic gold medallist after Michael Carruth and Katie Taylor.

“I’ll tell you what, regardless of the colour of the medal, obviously it’s a massive thing, a massive achievement, to have the support of the people back home, to put a smile on the nation’s face, it’s just great,” Kellie told RTÉ Sport in Tokyo after her bout.

“If I had won here today or not, I would have told them to keep smiling because it’s still an incredible journey and I’m just happy to be able to lift all of those people.

“I know I don’t look really happy because my emotions and my relief have just hit the floor, because I can’t really believe what’s happening.”

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