Monday 14 October 2019

Girls need to roll with punches - Harrington

 

World champion boxer Kellie Harrington at yesterday’s launch of Dare To Believe, a schools activation programme initiated by the Olympic Federation of Ireland that aims to inspire and increase youth participation in sports. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
World champion boxer Kellie Harrington at yesterday’s launch of Dare To Believe, a schools activation programme initiated by the Olympic Federation of Ireland that aims to inspire and increase youth participation in sports. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Barry Lennon

Barry Lennon

World lightweight champion Kellie Harrington has warned coaches to prepare young female boxers for defeat and roll with the punches to avoid them abandoning the sport.

The 29-year-old fears many who wish to follow in her footsteps may leave boxing if they are not properly prepared for defeat.

"The talent we have coming through in underage (women's) boxing is just phenomenal. All I want though is that they stay in the programme, doing what they're doing with the clubs," she said at the launch of the OCI's 'Dare to Believe' programme.

The lightweight gold medallist said young boxers must learn to critique their own game in order to deal with the inevitable bumps in the road.

"You can't improve without it. Then when they take a loss, it's a lesson. They can come away and learn from it," she observed.

"They've been filled with (talk of) how great they are and how they're up here and how they're God's gift to every female boxer in the world."

Harrington, who claimed a victory over Serbian-born Swede Jelena Jelic at the National Elite Championships on Saturday, switches focus to defending her crown at the World Championships in October.

Many wish to knock the World No 1 off her perch having learned recently that Thailand's World No 2 Sudaporn Seesondee has built her training regime around Harrington.

However, the St Mary's lightweight remains unfazed by the prospect.

"It doesn't make me feel anything, it makes me feel that she is a bloody eejit training just for me. Why would you do that? Because you could be beaten by someone else before she meets me," she said.

"Realistically, we will be on opposite sides of the draw because I will be No 1 seed and she will be No 2."

"I've been training for the last 15 years for Kellie Harrington to be a better person everyday and just get a better life. It's given me a great life."

Harrington followed Katie Taylor into the lightweight ranks after the Bray woman went pro and admits the Olympic gold medallist's career has helped change her view of professionalism.

"I don't know whether I'd turn professional but it's definitely an option that I would explore if the money was right," she said.

The Dubliner, who hails from Portland Row in the capital's north inner city, admits to being "embarrassed" by her new-found fame since last year's triumph.

"It's been crazy. Some of them (kids) knock on me ma's door and ask 'Is Kellie there?' And she'd be, 'No, she's not here' and then they'd be, 'When will she be here?' And they'd be calling back," she said.

"It's having some kind of positive impact on kids. They need that role model and without sport I do not know where I would be."

Irish Independent

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