Portland Row erupts in celebration as local hero Harrington wins Olympic gold

The family and friends of Irish boxer Kellie Harrington celebrate her gold medal in Dublin (Damian Eagers/PA)
The family and friends of Irish boxer Kellie Harrington celebrate her gold medal in Dublin (Damian Eagers/PA)
PA Wire

Seconds after Dublin’s Kellie Harrington won the Olympic gold medal, a huge crowd of neighbours and friends ran to her family’s home in jubilation.

Portland Row, where Harrington grew up, erupted in celebration as their local fighter secured her place in the history books by becoming the second Irish woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing.

Her parents, Yvonne and Christy Harrington, emerged from their home to scenes of celebration as their daughter was crowned an Olympic champion after defeating Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s 60kg lightweight final in Tokyo

The family of Irish boxer Kellie Harrington, mother Yvonne and father Christy (Damian Eagers/PA)

She won by a unanimous points decision to become only the second Irish female boxer to win an Olympic medal after Katie Taylor’s gold in London 2012.

Wrapped in Irish flags and surrounded by bunting and posters of the 31-year-old, locals wiped tears from their bleary eyes following hours of nerves and anticipation.

A large screen was erected on the packed Dublin street, surrounded by neighbours clutching cups of tea for the early morning fight.

Children parents and grandparents all turned out to celebrate Harrington the champion and popped bottles of champagne and danced on the street to cheer on their local hero.

Ireland\u2019s Kellie Anne Harrington celebrates with her gold medal (Adam Davy/PA)

Harrington’s mother Yvonne did not watch the fight and only learned of her daughter’s victory when she heard the cheers from family and friends.

Mrs Harrington said: “We are all just delighted.”

“She deserved it. We heard all the people cheering and we knew she won it.

“I would give her a big hug and say well done.”

Sarah Dunne, Michael Hanley and Sabrina Dunne join neighbours, family and friends gathered outside the family home of Irish boxer Kellie Harrington in Dublin (Damian Eagers/PA)

Mr Harrington, who emerged from their home clutching two bottles of champagne with tears in his eyes, said: “It’s magic, just magic.

“I am speechless.

“As the fight was going on, Kellie was stronger mentally and physically. ”

Kellie’s brother Christopher said: “It was iconic and it will take a while to see it it happen again.

“Can’t wait to get her home on Tuesday.”

Speaking after the win, Harrington said: “I feel relief, we are all champions, anyone who steps between those ropes are champions.

Harrington celebrates winning gold against Brazil\u2019s Beatriz Ferreira (Adam Davy/PA)

“Every fight has been a tough fight, every fight has been a gold medal fight. It’s fantastic and I can’t wait to get back home and sleep on the couch.

“I am exhausted. There has been times in my career when people say the whole country is behind you, this time I really feel the whole country is behind me.

People might say that’s pressure, that you have weight on your shoulders, but I really didn’t because I know no matter what happened out here today, whether it was gold or silver, I knew I would make myself proud and the people of Ireland proud, regardless of the colour of the medal.”

Harrington’s success marks the first time Ireland have won golds in two different sports at the same Olympics, with rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan triumphing in the men’s lightweight double sculls earlier in the Games.

She is just the third Irish boxer to go all the way in the event, following in the footsteps of Taylor and Michael Carruth, who made history at Barcelona 1992 when he topped the podium in the men’s welterweight category.

Yvonne Harrington (centre) celebrates with family and friends outside her home in Dublin (Damian Eagers/PA)

“I’m an Olympic champion but it doesn’t define me as a person,” said Harrington, who plans to return to work as a part-time cleaner at St Vincent’s Hospital Fairview after a two or three-week break.

Colleagues at St Vincent’s congratulated her in a statement, saying: “All of us at St Vincent’s Hospital Fairview offer a big congratulations to Kellie Harrington on winning a gold medal this morning at the Tokyo Olympic Games. What an achievement, with such skill and determination?

“This is such a proud achievement for Kellie, and for her family and many friends.

“She was an inspiration to all of us throughout this Olympic Games; getting to an Olympic final and taking home a gold medal is a remarkable achievement.

“Kellie is not just an outstanding sportswoman, but also a valued and dedicated staff member here at the hospital.

“We are so proud of her and we look forward to seeing her back here at the hospital, at a time that’s convenient for her, in the coming days.”

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