Irish Olympic boxer will return to part-time cleaning job even if she wins gold

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Tokyo , Japan - 30 July 2021; Kellie Harrington of Ireland during her women's lightweight round of 16 bout with Rebecca Nicoli of Italy at the Kokugikan Arena during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Ireland's Kellie Harrington during her women's lightweight round of 16 bout with Rebecca Nicoli of Italy at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

There is clearly more to life in the ring for Kellie Harrington. The Irish female boxer says she will still return to work as a part-time cleaner after the Tokyo Olympics - even if she wins gold.

Harrington, 31, kept up her bid for Olympic gold by moving serenely into Tuesday's quarter-final bout after seeing off Italy's Rebecca Nicoli in her opening fight at the Kokugikan Arena.

Three fights from glory, Harrington admits she plans on keeping her job at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin on her hopeful golden return to Ireland.

“I am more than just a boxer,” said Harrington, Ireland's flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony. “I’m a giving person. I have a fantastic family and a great job at home.

Tokyo , Japan - 30 July 2021; Kellie Harrington of Ireland, left, and Rebecca Nicoli of Italy during their women's lightweight round of 16 bout at the Kokugikan Arena during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Kellie Harrington of Ireland, left, and Rebecca Nicoli of Italy during their women's lightweight round of 16 bout. (Getty)
Dublin , Ireland - 29 June 2021; Lightweight Kellie Harrington during a Tokyo 2020 Team Ireland Announcement for Boxing in the Sport Ireland Institute at the Sports Ireland Campus in Dublin.  (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Irish Olympic boxer Kellie Harrington will return to her part-time cleaning job even if she wins gold

“That’s who I am, this is just a part of the journey I’m on in life. It’s not the destination."

Harrington, the 2018 world champion, opted to go to work in the hospital when the Olympics were originally shelved last year. 

Watch: From two black eyes to Tokyo, the female boxer aiming to make Olympic history

She twice broke her hand in 2019 and sees her Dublin job as a way to remain grounded out of the ring.

She said: "I've been saying this to a lot of people lately, that you need to have a life outside of boxing because there is more to life than sport - anything can happen in sport, you need something to fall back on and my job is what I fall back on.

“I work every second weekend, so it’s grand splitting that time. I feel like when you work in a job you love, then you never work.

“There is more to life than sport and anything can happen in sport, so you need something to fall back on."

Standing in the favourite's way for gold will likely be Great Britain's Caroline Dubois, who moved within one win of a medal on her Games debut after beating experienced American Rashida Ellis.

“She’s (Ellis) a world bronze medallist, and I’m a nobody,” the 20-year-old said. “It feels like nobody knows me, nobody respects me. They all look at Kellie Anne or Rashida as somebody, as special.

"I’ve earned my place, and I’m coming for a gold medal. I don’t want a medal, I want the medal. I want it badly, I want it more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.”

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