Team Ireland has named their two flag bearers who will take part in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Boxers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine have been selected in a move by 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 July 23rd, 2021 at 12pm Irish time (8pm local time).
Boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, with 16 of the 31 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 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 is the start of the Olympic Games, and I am at the pinnacle of our sport.”
TEAM IRELAND FLAGBEARERS NAMED
Boxers Brendan Irvine and Kellie Harrington selected to carry the flag for #TeamIreland in the #Tokyo2020 opening ceremony 🇮🇪
In a big move towards gender parity, nations can select a male and female flagbearer!! https://t.co/n0zRof3XIL pic.twitter.com/3sy3fEld1H
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 20, 2021
Her teammate Irvine is also the boxing team captain and Harrington described their pride saying: “I know Brendan 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, July 23rd, 2021, with the rowers in action just ahead of the opening ceremony.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo run from Friday, July 23rd – Sunday, August 8th, with 116 Irish athletes competing.
Meanwhile, The head of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee on Tuesday did not rule out a last-minute cancellation of the global sporting showpiece, which starts on Friday.
Asked at a news conference if the Games might still be cancelled amid rising Covid-19 cases, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers if necessary.