Irish boxer Kellie Harrington has won an Olympic gold medal after defeating Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira in the women’s 60kg lightweight final.
She won by a unanimous points decision to become only the second Irish female boxer to win an Olympic medal after Katie Taylor’s gold in London 2012.
The 31-year-old Dubliner came strong in the second two rounds to overcome the reigning world champion.
It was Ireland’s 11th ever Olympic gold medal and their second in Tokyo.
It takes the team’s medal haul at these Games to four – two gold and two bronze.
Harrington’s success on Sunday morning was the third time Ireland have won Olympic boxing gold, with Michael Carruth winning the first one in Barcelona in 1992 before Taylor repeated the success 20 years later.
It was an 18th boxing Olympic medal in total for Ireland, more than half of the 34 medals won in total.
Number-one seed Harrington, who reached the final after a 3-2 split decision win over Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee, was behind on three of the five judges’ cards after the first round.
However, she grew in confidence after that and won 10-9 on all the judges’ cards in the next two rounds to take gold by a unanimous decision in what became a dominant display.
Ferreira came forward more in what was a tight opening round, but Harrington boxing on the back foot but still landing some good right-hand punches.
The Dubliner brought more variety to her game in round two as she began to get on top with better movement, boosted by a strong right hand that she delivered just seconds after the round got under way.
A strong left-hand punch from Harrington with just over a minute of the fight remaining rocked the Brazilian, before the Irish gold medal winner fell to her knees in the ring in emotional scenes after her victory.
Her gold medal success meant Ireland finished joint 38th in the Tokyo Olympics medal table, alongside Israel, which was their highest medal finish since they came 28th in Atlanta 1996.
‘If I could be in two places at one time I’d be at home’
Harrington was hugely emotional during her medal ceremony and, speaking after her victory, praised her coaches as well as recognising the support she has been receiving from home.
“I can’t sum it up. I’ve just been going with the flow, I haven’t been putting pressure on myself and have been taking it each round at a time,” she said.
“I’ve been enjoying it. A lot of the time I would be thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ but I’ve enjoyed every second of it.
“I’ve enjoyed the coaches getting the tactics right for me, the high performance coaches, my club coach Noel Burke – they work together and make the perfect formula to go out there and win each fight.
“I can’t put it into words. If I could be in two places at the one time I would be at home as well because I would say the atmosphere is fantastic.”