Boxers Kellie Harrington and Brendan Irvine have been chosen as the Team Ireland flag bearers for Friday’s Olympic Games opening ceremony in Tokyo.
For the first time each country is being asked to have two flag bearers in the parade of nations, one male and one female.
Dubliner Kellie Harrington is competing at the Olympics for the first time, while Belfast fighter Brendan Irvine fought at the Rio games.
Speaking in the athletes village this morning both boxers said they were honoured and proud to represent their communities, their sport and their country.
It’s estimated that around 10,000 people will be in the Olympic Stadium for the ceremony – which begins at midday Irish time. The general public will not be in attendance and instead, the crowd will be made up of Olympic officials, sponsors and dignitaries including US First Lady Jill Biden.
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’s the start of the Olympic Games, and I’m at the pinnacle of our sport.”
Her team-mate Irvine is also the boxing team captain, competing in the flyweight category, Harrington describes their pride: “I know Brendy 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.”