Olympic champion Harrington backs high performance director Bernard Dunne

Olympic gold medallist and newly announced SPAR Brand Ambassador Kellie Harrington at St Mary’s Boxing Club, Dublin. SPAR yesterday announced an exciting new three-year partnership with Kellie, which will see the community retail group support her every step of the way on her journey to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. As part of the partnership, SPAR and Kellie Harrington have launched the SPAR Christmas community fund, which is an initiative where SPAR want to reward and acknowledge 10 local community mentors by giving them the chance to win €1,000 each for their club or community group. To find out more and nominate your local community mentors visit:
Neil Loughran

OLYMPIC champion Kellie Harrington has given her backing to Irish high performance director Bernard Dunne - and hopes the former world champion stays put for the foreseeable future.

An internal row within the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has in recent months, with a potentially explosive AGM due to take place at Belfast’s Balmoral Hotel on Sunday, November 28.

One of the issues which have dogged the Association surrounds Dunne’s two-year contract extension earlier this year, with an unsigned document - distributed among IABA members three months before the Tokyo Olympics – criticising his leadership and the high performance unit.

The document was rubbished by Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy and the IABA’s Ciarán Kirwan as Dunne was robustly defended during a joint Oireachtas committee meeting last week.

And Harrington, who captured lightweight gold in Tokyo, has also leapt to his defence.

“Being very honest, I haven’t read a thing about it… what I will say though is that, while I’ve been involved in the high performance since Bernard has come in, female boxing has definitely been impacted massively, and all for good,” she said.

“I can only speak well of Bernard – we do have our tit-for-tat moments but we always air them out. He’s a person you can approach and whatever he does will be right for him, but I hope that we don’t lose him.”

Speculation surrounding the future of boxing in the Olympic Games has also reared its head again, with world governing body AIBA campaigning for reinstatement after being stripped of the right to organise the tournament in Tokyo.

Harrington, who intends to be in Paris in three years, hopes it is nothing more than talk.

“When I hear stuff like that, I only think that it is hot air being blown. It is only threats because I can’t imagine an Olympics without boxing.”

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