Kellie Harrington celebrates Olympic qualification after ‘rough few months’

Kellie Harrington celebrates Olympic qualification after ‘rough few months’

Kellie Harrington is heading to the Olympics.

Dublin boxer Kellie Harrington has qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics after defeating Agnes Alexiussion at the European Games.

Harrington, who celebrated Gold at the 2020 Olympic Games, won 4-1 by split decision in Poland and now advances to the semi-finals of the competition.

Qualification comes after a controversial few months for Harrington, as she received widespread criticism for making ill-judged comments about immigrants on social media.

That looked far from her mind while fighting in the ring, but she confessed afterwards that her victory tasted all the sweeter because it came after a “rough few months”.

Harrington Olympics

Harrington beams after qualifying for Paris Olympics.

“I said if I qualified out here, I’m going to let things go, because I’ve had a rough few months and this makes it all worthwhile, coming back strong,” she told RTÉ Sport.

“I’ll only call myself a double Olympian once I get to Paris, but it’s incredible.

“I feel I’m finally starting to enjoy it [boxing] again. There were moments where I didn’t think I wanted to be here.”

The 32-year-old even revealed that she planned on quitting the sport if she lost her quarter-final bout:

“I was retiring without telling anybody after this if I didn’t qualify, that was my retirement cue to get out.”

Kellie Harrington

Irish boxers qualify for Olympics.

Sligo boxer Dean Clancy will also compete at the Games after overcoming Italy’s Gianluigi Malangan in the 63.5kg category.

“[It’s] a dream come true,” said the 21-year-old. “Since I first laced up the gloves, this was my dream.

“My Dad arrived yesterday and I’m happy to share the moment with him. He was out there in the crowd.

“It’s a dream between us, he was training me since no age,” he added.

While still in with a chance of qualifying is Jack Marley, who today advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament’s heavyweight division.

In order to qualify for the Paris Olympics he must, however, beat his semi-final opponent and secure a place in the heavyweight final.