KELLIE HARRINGTON WINS GOLD FOR TEAM IRELAND IN TOKYO

Kellie Harrington wrote her way into the history books in Tokyo this morning, as she overcame Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil in stunning fashion by unanimous decision in the Women’s Light final.

Harrington came into the bout having never met the Brazilian before, and Ferreira had proven herself as a force to be reckoned with in Tokyo, defeating all who came before her in style. In the opening round, she just had the edge on Harrington, taking the judges scoring 3-2, but Harrington came out in force to win rounds two and three clear, and to go on to be crowned Olympic champion by unanimous decision and secure Ireland’s fourth medal of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games (more below).

“I’m not afraid of failure and I’m not afraid of losing,” Harrington said afterwards. “So I suppose once you’re not afraid of that, then anything is possible.

“I don’t know what it means [to be Olympic champion], to be honest. It hasn’t sunk in yet, I’ve just won a fight, like one fight. Each fight is one fight…This won’t sink in until I get home, until I see my family.”

Elsewhere, Kevin Seaward fared the best of the Irishmen in this morning’s marathon, finishing in 58th position in a time of 2:21:45. His teammate Paul Pollock crossed the line in 71st, stopping the clock at 2:27:48, while there was disappointment for the third Irishman, Stephen Scullion, who had to withdraw from the race before the halfway mark.

Cyclist Emily Kay finished 13th in the Women’s Omnium in her Olympic debut at the Izu Velodrome today. Kay was the last rider to take to the boards for Team Ireland cyclists and finished the four-race event with a total of 56 points.

ATHLETICS

The final Athletics action of Tokyo 2020 saw three Team Ireland singlets on the start line of the Men’s Marathon in Sapporo. Kevin Seaward fared the best of the Irishmen, finishing in 58th position in a time of 2:21:45. His teammate Paul Pollock crossed the line in 71st, stopping the clock at 2:27:48, while there was disappointment for the third Irishman, Stephen Scullion, who had to withdraw from the race before the halfway mark.

Conditions once again proved the toughest challenge in Sapporo, with 27-degree heat and over 70% humidity taking a huge toll on the field from the start. By the halfway mark, 15 men had departed, including two of the Ethiopian team, and some serious medal contenders.

The three Irishmen started off conservatively, and sensibly so, all going through the 10km marker towards the back of the field. Scullion had to retire between the 15km-20km mark, and his teammates watched as many of their competitors were forced to do the same, with 30 men in total dropping out to the conditions.

Through halfway, Seaward sat in 86th position, and went on to pick up almost 30 places through the second half of the race, with a steady charge through the field.

It’s probably the hardest marathon I’ve ever run,” Seaward said afterwards. “I don’t think people at home can put into context quite how challenging it was out there. I learned a lot about myself there in terms of resilience and inner strength.”

Pollock was 80th through 21km, and moved up nine places to the finish, needing a huge effort to stay in the race through the final stretch, saying: “It’s a long way to hold on for the last 10 miles and that’s exactly what I was. It was about getting to the finish line as quickly as possible and as safely as possible.”

 BOXING

Dubliner Kellie Harrington wrote her way into the history books in Tokyo this morning, as she overcame Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil in stunning fashion by unanimous decision, 5-0, in the Women’s Light final (57-60kg).

Harrington came into the bout having never met the Brazilian before, and Ferreira had proven herself as a force to be reckoned with in Tokyo, defeating all who came before her in style. In the opening round, she just had the edge on Harrington, taking the judges scoring 3-2, but Harrington came out in force to win rounds two and three clear, and to go on to be crowned Olympic champion by unanimous decision and secure Ireland’s fourth medal of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

“Relieved, totally relieved. I’m just glad that it’s over!” Harrington said afterwards. “To have the support of a nation backing you is just, it’s actually hard to believe, I actually feel the nation has been behind me. Regardless of whatever happened out there today - whether I got a silver or a gold - I knew, and I know, that I have made them proud.

“I knew it was 3-2 after the first round,” she reflected. “I just went back out and kept control and just did what I could do because if I had gone out and tried to put the pressure on and rushing, then that’s her game. I just stuck to my plan. Her game is the counter, because she’s strong.  She’s small and she’s really, really good at what she does, so I just stuck to my game and stuck to what John and Zaur had planned, and it worked. I don’t even know the score in the second round, and the third. It was good but I’m glad it’s over.”

Looking back on her pre-fight prep she added: “You are nervous for every single fight, it doesn’t matter what fight it is. But nerves are great, they make you feel alive. They give you energy, they keep you on edge. As long as I can control them and not let them eat me up then I’m fine. I kind of do my own bit of sports psychology, I know how to control them now. I’m not afraid of failure, I’m not afraid of losing. So I suppose once you’re not afraid of that, then anything is possible.

“The amount of lovely messages that I have got just saying I’m inspiring the young kids coming up and the way I carry myself that I’ve made the country proud - that’s my goal,” she continued. “To be able to inspire the next generation coming up. To be able to carry myself well so that kids coming up can carry their selves well - this is what it’s all about.

Holding the Olympic gold medal, she added: “I don’t know what it means, to be honest. It hasn’t sunk in yet, I’ve just won a fight, like one fight. Each fight is one fight. I’m at a fight, I’m at a tournament. This won’t sink in until I get home, until I see me family and to be honest with you, coming out here, I knew I was going to be away for six weeks and I had said to John; “after three weeks, if I want to go home can I go home? I don’t know how I’m going to be able to perform if I’m homesick,” and John was just like “Kellie, relax. You won’t be homesick,” And I wasn’t homesick! The team has been fantastic. The boxing team has rallied around me and we’ve rallied around each other.

“Brendan Irvine has been a leader out and out. My roommates, the whole team has been fantastic and a great unit and I genuinely couldn’t have asked for a better team to be here with. We all push each in so many different ways and it’s just been fantastic. I’m glad to be here and I’m glad to have them here on this journey with me.”

CYCLING TRACK

Emily Kay has finished 13th in the Women’s Omnium in her Olympic debut at the Izu Velodrome today. Kay was the last rider to take to the boards for Team Ireland cyclists, and finished the four-race event with a total of 56 points. Jennifer Valente (USA) took the gold medal and Olympic title ahead of Yumi Kajihara (Japan), with Kirsten Wild (NED) rounding off the podium, winning bronze.

In the first Scratch Race, Kay was riding strong until a crash caused her to DNF with several other riders, resulting in a 13th place finish and a total of 16 points. In the Tempo Race, Kay picked up a sprint point, but dropped a lap, and finished 13th again. A strong showing in the Elimination Race followed, which resulted in 54 points, and a ninth-place finish, to set her up well for the points race, where she crossed the line in 15th place, with the total number of points gained resulting in a 13th place final position.

Speaking afterwards, Kay said: “Yeah, I’d say I’m pretty heartbroken but pretty proud of myself. I felt I came in today in the form of my life and in that Scratch Race, I put myself in the right position. I felt really good, I was coming over the top.

“I guess more than anything I’m just proud of myself for never giving up, and you know, fighting all the way to the finish, I think that’s what the Olympics is about, and that’s what Team Ireland is about. I’m heartbroken and probably will be a while but I’ll come back stronger and Paris is only three years away.”

CLOSING CEREMONY

The Closing Ceremony takes place in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, August 8th at 12 noon (Irish time). Modern Pentathlete, Natalya Coyle has been named as the flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

MORNING RESULTS DAY 16: AUGUST 8TH, 2021

ATHLETICS

Men’s Marathon - Kevin Seaward –58th in 2:21:45

Men’s Marathon - Paul Pollock – 71st in 2:27:48

Men’s Marathon - Stephen Scullion – DNF

BOXING

Women’s Light (57-60kg) Final - Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Beatriz Ferreira (BRA), win for IRL 5-0 by unanimous decision to win gold

TRACK CYCLING:

Women’s Omnium Scratch Race ¼ - Emily Kay –  13th

Women’s Omnium Tempo Race 2/4 – Emily Kay – 13th

Women’s Omnium Elimination Race ¾ – Emily Kay – 9th

Women’s Omnium Points Race 4/4 - Emily Kay – 15th

Final placing: 13th overall with 56 points

DAY 16 SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): August 8th, 2021 

12:00 Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

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