Kellie Harrington's partner ‘never doubted' she would win gold
The partner of Irish Olympic hero Kellie Harrington has said she “never doubted” that she would bring home the gold.
Harrington grabbed victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira 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.
Mandy Loughlin, her partner of 13 years, said she was always confident she would win, saying she “brings 110% to whatever she does”.
“I never doubted her for a minute. Never,” she said.
“The whole package is there for Kellie now. She’s just got such a fantastic support system, in our coaches and in the IABA (Irish Athletic Boxing Association), and in her club coach, in her family and friends.
“Everything has just come together so well for Kellie. Obviously, Covid and stuff like that has kind of, not knocked her confidence, but I feel like it was the only thing that wasn’t coming together was the lack of preparation.
“To a certain extent where, you know, they weren’t going to the usual competitions at that level.
“But when she went to all the qualifiers, she flew through them and she came out with the gold. That was all the confidence she needed going into this.
“I was just so happy and just so positive that she would get what she deserves.”
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 only 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.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio One, Ms Loughlin praised Harrington for her positivity.
“She brings 110% to whatever she does, she brings the craic, she brings passion and excitement,” she said.
“If you meet Kellie, and you’re talking to her, the energy, she just makes you want to be a better person, she really does.”
Harrington’s homecoming is set for Tuesday, with her partner hoping that she can be greeted by fans in a safe manner, in line with pandemic guidelines.
Ms Loughlin watched the fight from the Harrington family home in Portland Row in Dublin’s inner city, and described the atmosphere as “magical”.
She said: “The energy was just unbelievable. You could hear the waves of people from, like, houses above and beyond and further away.
“The screams as she was boxing and was successful in catching her (Ferreira), it was just magical.”
Meanwhile, former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan has backed the Olympian to turn professional.
He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “She’s right up there. She could stay in the amateurs, or she could turn professional and move away to America or box in the UK or box at home.
“There’s a number of options available to her. It’s entirely up to Kellie. I suppose at the moment she just wants to have a rest and celebrate.
“She has achieved the pinnacle of the amateur game, and you can’t get much better than the world championships and the Olympic Games and the gold medals. So it’ll be old hat going back over that ground.
“So she has the chance to turn professional, and she has the ability to be very successful.”