Kellie Harrington: ‘I can live without boxing but I can’t live without staying active’

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Irish Olympian hopeful Kellie Harrington said Covid-19 has taught her that she can live without boxing but she can’t live without staying active.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show last night, Kelly said it has been “a mental year” since qualifying for the now-postponed Summer Olympic Games, that was due to take place in Tokyo. 

The Dublin boxer, who has taken home medals from the European Olympic Games, European Championships and World Championships, said Covid-19 has made training for the second European Olympic qualifier very difficult. 

“There’s red tape everywhere. It’s very hard because we’re a very close contact sport, you’re nearly swapping spit with your sparring partner, so it’s crazy.”

“It’d be great to get there and it would be great to medal. If I don’t get it, it’s not the end of the world. Covid has taught me that I can live without boxing but I can’t live without staying active because that is my medicine.”

Kellie admitted to following “the wrong path” as a young teenager growing up in Dublin.

 “When I was about 13 I had my poor ma and da’s heart broke. I could have been brown bread. There are boxing clubs on every corner in the inner city but they wouldn’t let me in for a year. I was knocking on trainers’ doors for a year until eventually, they let me in. It’s been a rocky road to get respect from people but I felt loved in the boxing community. Boxing became a different type of drug, a different type of adrenalin.”

Kellie works as a full-time domestic worker in St Vincent’s Hospital where she’s known to entertain her patients with music. “I pull out the karaoke machine and they love it. It’s my way of giving back, it’s really not a job for me.”

Asked how she manages the pressure of being a role model, Kelly said “If you had of asked me this six years ago, I could never have imagined that I could become a household name or that people would look up to me. I feel a responsibility to them and I enjoy it, I embrace it.”

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