Kellie Harrington set for return to action after six-month injury nightmare

Kellie Harrington set for return to action after six-month injury nightmare

Former World Elite champion Kellie Harrington is back from a six-month injury nightmare in a significant boost for Irish boxing ahead of the European qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 in London next March.

The Dublin lightweight is included on a 20-strong squad for the 71st Strandja multi-nations which begin in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 21.

Harrington withdrew from last June's European Games' final with Katie Taylor's Rio 2016 conqueror Mira Potkonen because of an injury to her right hand and missed August's European Women's Elites in Madrid.

She was unable to defend the World title she won in New Delhi in 2018 at the 2019 Worlds in Siberia and Brazil's Iasmin Ferreira won gold to mark the first time a non-European topped the lightweight podium in 14 years.

Harrington also missed November's National Elites where Amy Broadhurst claimed the lightweight title on a walkover.

European U/22 champion Broadhurst is also included on the Irish panel for Sofia at lightweight and will double up at 60kg with Harrington.

Antrim's and Roscommon's current European Elite champions Kurt Walker and Aoife line out at feather and middle in Sofia with Ireland doubling up in seven weights.

Walker also missed November's Elites through injury, and the featherweight title was claimed by Dean Clancy who has also been named in the panel for Sofia.

The squad includes current National Elite champions Broadhurst, Clancy, Ceira Smith, brother and sister Michaela and Aidan Walsh, Amy Broadhurst, Christina Desmond, Aoife O'Rourke, Jude Gallagher, George Bates, Emmett Brennan, Kiril Afanasev and Ken Okungbowa.

Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director, will name his squad for London after the Men's Koka multi-nations in Hungary next month.

Seventy-seven - 50 for men and 27 for women - Olympic places will be up for grabs in London.

Ireland squad for 71st Strandja Multi-Nations in Sofia, Bulgaria, January 21/25

Female

51kg: C Smith (Cavan) and C McNaul (Holy Family);

57kg: M Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim);

60kg: K Harrington (St Mary’s) and A Broadhurst (Dealgan);

69kg: C Desmond (Fr Horgan's) and G Walsh (Spartacus);

75kg: A O’Rourke (Castlerea).

Male

52kg: J Gallagher (Two Castles);

57kg: K Walker (Canal) and D Clancy (Sean McDermott);

63kg: G Bates (St Mary’s) and W Kelly (Portlaoise);

69kg: A Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim) and K Molloy (Oughterard);

75kg: M Nevin (Portlaoise);

81kg: E Brennan (Dublin Docklands);

91kg: K Afanasev (Smithfield);

91kg+: K Ogunbowa (Athlone) or A O’Griofa (Celtic Eagles).

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