Two years on from the disappointment of the Rio Olympics boxing competition, it was clear that Ireland had another contender in waiting, as Kellie Harrington stepped onto the podium in New Delhi having claimed gold at the world championships.

Fighting at the same weight division as 2012 champion, Katie Taylor, Harrington would arrive at the Tokyo Games as the number one seed and favourite to secure gold for Ireland.

However, Harrington had to contend with injury issues after becoming world champion and arrived into the Olympic year with little action in the previous six months.

The Paris qualifiers showed that any injury worries had disappeared as Harrington landed the gold medal at the European event.

And by the time Harrington stepped into the ring for that first ever Olympic bout, normal service had well and truly resumed as the Dubliner's class and style shone through from first bell to last.

Harrington would progress, virtually unscathed, to the semi-finals where she would be faced with a top class opponent in Sudaporn Seesondeeyet from Thailand, but again, the Portland Row pugilist faced the challenge head on and ensured a gold medal match-up would follow.

Harrington made no mistake in that Tokyo decider against Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira, sparking early Sunday morning celebrations throughout the country, and no where more than the north inner city of the capital.

"Hakuna Matata" - it means no worries – was the mantra for that particular journey, and Harrington’s spirit captured the nation’s heart as she returned with the gold medal to a hero’s welcome.

A successful year for Harrington, no doubt, but it arrived as a result of a decade of hard work, as she secured a string of national titles, before making her name on the European and then world stage.

Naturally, the offers to turn professional, and the carrot of perhaps one day challenging Katie Taylor for a world title shot, would follow, however, they were turned down as Harrington wanted to return to her everyday life and maintain the amateur ethos.

Katie Taylor, of course, could not return to claim back-to-back Olympic medals, yet with the Paris Games now just two and a half years away, Harrington, who is currently at the top of her game, could certainly achieve that particular milestone.

Joanne Cantwell and Darragh Maloney will present the RTÉ Sport Awards 2021 on Saturday 18 December on RTÉ One.

The Sportsperson of the Year is selected by a judging panel. The criteria can be read here.