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glove-ly stuff Tears of joy as Kellie Harrington claims gold at European Olympic qualifying event

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Kellie Harrington claimed the gold medal in the European Boxing Olympic qualifying event

Kellie Harrington claimed the gold medal in the European Boxing Olympic qualifying event

Kellie Harrington claimed the gold medal in the European Boxing Olympic qualifying event

Kellie Harrington has won the gold medal at the European Olympic qualifier in Paris.

The 31-year-old Dubliner is now set to be handed a high seeding in next month’s Tokyo Olympics as a result of her exploits.

She completely outclassed 20-year-old Londoner Caroline Dubois, who had previously beaten the number one seed and Rio Olympic bronze medallist Mira Potkonen in the first round.

An emotional Harrington – who was assured of a place in the lightweight division at the Tokyo Games regardless of the outcome – wept when the result was announced.

Twice a medallist at World level, she was crowned World champion in 2018 but has had to overcome a series of obstacles since in order to fulfil her dream of becoming an Olympian. She missed most of 2019 with a wrist injury and the coronavirus pandemic wiped out nearly all of her 2020 schedule.

Now she will be burdened with more pressure as she is unquestionably Ireland’s best prospect for a boxing medal in Tokyo. How she reacts will determine her legacy.

Even before the first bell sounded, it was obvious that Harrington was physically a more powerful lightweight than her opponent, who is still adjusting to the demands of elite boxing.

Dubois is a southpaw and though Harrington started in orthodox style she too switched to southpaw and bossed the first round. Her excellent head movement and ability to tie-up Dubois in the close exchanged frustrated the UK fighter as the Dubliner landed the majority of the scoring shots to take the opening round on four of the five judges’ cards.

It was more of the same in the second round, with all five judges scoring it in favour of the Irish fighter. Dubois finally got some traction in the last round, but Harrington looked in control as she cruised to the most comfortable of majority wins.

Incidentally, IBF world pro champion Maiva Hamadouche, who Harrington beat in the quarter-final on Saturday, has qualified for Tokyo via the box-off in the 60kg division.

In tonight’s final session Michaela Walsh aims for gold against Imra Testa from Italy in the featherweight division.

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