Thursday 19 September 2019

Harrington eyes gold after following plan 'to perfection'

Kellie Harrington. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Kellie Harrington. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

The hand of history will be on Kellie Harrington's shoulder tomorrow when she meets Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee for the AIBA World Elite lightweight title in New Delhi.

The Dubliner cruised past Kazakhstan's Karina Ibragimova on a unanimous decision yesterday, while Seesondee beat Yeonji Oh 4-1 in a reversal of the 2018 Asian Games final which the Korean won 4-1.

Tomorrow's final comes almost 12 years to the day since Katie Taylor won her first World Elite lightweight gold in New Delhi on November 23, 2006.

Ibragimova, a stand-up but cautious southpaw, had her moments in the semi-final. Her jab, the triggering mechanism for her hooks, was flashing around the Dubliner's bobbing head in all three rounds.

But the Irish skipper, after getting clipped inside the first 30 seconds, mostly dictated the pace and terms of the contest through aggression, footwork and shot selection from that point on. The final scores read 30-27 across the board to the St Mary's BC orthodox, who threw in a cheeky shuffle and switched to southpaw in the third.

"She led us off in the first fight here. That's fight four out of the way. One more step to take before we're finished," said IABA high performance director Bernard Dunne.

"We had a really good discussion before the fight and we created a plan with very clear points for Kellie to work on and she followed that plan to perfection."

Harrington, who has won four contests in seven days in New Delhi to guarantee herself at least silver, is no stranger to appearing in World Elite finals.

Two years ago the eight-time Irish Elite champion dropped a majority decision to China's Yang Wenlu in the light-welter (64kg) decider in Kazakhstan.

She's since moved down to the lightweight (60kg) class - one of the five for women in the Olympics.

Victory tomorrow would ensure that she's the No 1 seed at the 2019 World Championships in Serbia, which will also act as Olympic qualifiers.

The second session of semi-finals will be decided today. As things stand, Ireland is the only western European nation through to the finals.

Meanwhile, India's Mary Kom is one win away from surpassing the record she shares with Taylor after beating North Korea's Mi Kim yesterday to book her ticket into the light-fly final.

The Indian will meet Ukraine's Hanna Okhoto tomorrow, looking to become the first woman to claim six elite world crowns.

Irish Independent

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