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Kellie Harrington cruises into the quarter-finals after classy victory in opening bout of the Olympics

Harrington cruised through her opening bout.

It was a great day for Ireland in the boxing ring at the Tokyo Olympics. Aidan Walsh secured a medal and world champion Kellie Harrington cruised into the quarter-finals after winning her opening bout of the tournament.

Kellie Harrington advances to quarter-finals of the Olympics.

Harrington was the Irish last boxer to get her Olympics campaign underway, but she showed no signs of rustiness against Italian Rebecca Nicoli in their lightweight round of 16 fight.

The Dubliner, 31, showed why she is top seed for the tournament, producing a classy and composed display in Tokyo. Harrington won via unanimous decision and is one victory away from winning at least a bronze medal. She will fight Algeria’s Imane Khelif in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

After the fight, Harrington spoke to RTÉ, and said she was happy to finally get into the ring at the Olympics.

“Get the ball rolling. The first one is always the hardest anyway I feel,” said Harrington.

“I’m glad to get started and underway, I was a bit anxious coming in. Last person to box really. The support from the rest of the team has been amazing, and Brendan (Irvine, Ireland’s team captain) has been keeping the rest of the team going. He’s a true leader in every aspect.”

Kellie Harrington on Ireland’s rowers winning gold at the Olympics.

Harrington, who was Ireland’s flagbearer at the Olympics, also spoke about Irish rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy, who won gold on Thursday.

“It was fantastic. We were all outside giving them the guard of honour (at the Olympic village). It was absolutely brilliant.”

“It’s great for our country, for Ireland. We are a small country but we are a mighty team. We all get behind each other – it doesn’t matter what sport … We’re all there for each other.”

(Additional reporting by Reuters).

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