'To have the support of the people back home, to put a smile on the nation's face, it's just great'

The Dublin boxer will fight for a gold medal in Tokyo on Sunday morning.

A DELIGHTED AND emotional Kellie Harrington said that lifting people’s spirits at home is one of the best outcomes of her Olympic boxing journey.

Harrington is through to Sunday’s lightweight final in Tokyo after today’s semi-final win over Thai boxer Suadporn Seesondee.

“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,” Harrington told RTÉ Sport after her fight at the Kokugikan Arena.

“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.”

Describing her fight as ‘a chess match’, Harrington was expecting it to be settled on a close decision against an opponent she described as ‘a fantastic operator’.

“She has a really strong left hand, so I was trying not to get hit with that and trying to stay away from it. Try to tease her on, like my club coach said and my high performance coach said, make her throw and then counter. I felt a little bit more comfortable towards the end, standing instead of running, and it was fantastic. Just brilliant really.”

kellie-harrington-after-she-defeated-sudaporn-seesondee Kellie Harrington. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Harrington admitted it has been a long journey to Sunday’s final where she will attempt a gold medal and also hailed those who have supported her.

“As my brother says, ‘The last mile is never crowded.’

“And that’s the way it does feel sometimes, it does feel very lonely. But I suppose that’s the difference isn’t it, to be able to hold on in there and keep it going.”

“While I’m here, just a big shoutout to Anna Moore, she’s one of the Mammies of Irish women’s boxing and she’s been there from the start. She’s always sending her love to everybody so I want to shout out to Anna Moore.

“It’s going to be a massive fight. It will be what it will be. It’ll be exciting. Looking forward to it and I’ll speak with the coaches about it or I’ll speak with Noel Burke about it and we’ll come up with a plan altogether.”

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“Hakuna Matata,” was her closing remark to interviewer Joe Stack with RTÉ later interviewing her family, who gave their reaction from their home in Portland Row, Dublin.

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Fintan O'Toole

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