Boxers Harrington and Irvine to carry flag as the Olympics drive towards gender balance
Team Ireland has named the two flagbearers who will carry the Irish flag in the athlete’s parade at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. Boxers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine have been selected in what is a monumental move in the Olympic family to strive for gender equality, with all participating nations have been invited to nominate a male and female athlete to carry the flag. The Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday the 23 July 2021 at 12 noon Irish time (8pm local time).
Boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, with sixteen of the thirty-one Irish medals having been won by boxers. Irvine is competing in his second Olympic Games, while Harrington is embarking on her first, and is going into the tournament as one of the top seeded boxers in the lightweight (-60kg) category.
Speaking on her selection, Harrington said,
“This means so much to me, to be able to represent not only myself as a person, but as a boxer, for boxing, for my family and for Ireland. It’s an amazing honour, there are so many athletes out here, and to be chosen as one of the flagbearers is absolutely fantastic. I can’t believe it really. Walking out there and realising I’m the flagbearer, it’s the start of the Olympic Games, and I’m at the pinnacle of our sport.”
Her teammate Irvine is also the boxing team captain, competing in the Flyweight category (-49kg), Harrington describes their pride,
“I know Brendy a long time now, and he is a fantastic person. He is what you call a leader; he leads the team. I’m so happy that it’s him out there with me. I just know we will be looking at each other and smiling. We will be feeling so proud, and I know his family and friends and community are quite like mine and everyone will be so proud of our achievements. I’m absolutely delighted.”
Almost half of the 116 Team Ireland athletes are currently residing in the Olympic village, as well as teams who are settling into the satellite venues. Team Ireland action begins on Friday 23 July 2021, with the rowers in action just ahead of the Opening Ceremony. Over the coming days we will be providing a full event schedule and details of where the Games can be followed. The Olympic Games in Tokyo run from Friday 23 July – Sunday 8 August, with 116 Irish athletes competing.