ATHLETICS Ireland has vowed to help Derval O'Rourke get the European indoor bronze medal she was cheated out of last March after Turkey's double European sprint hurdles champion Nevin Yanit received a two-year drugs ban yesterday.
Yanit took gold in the 60m hurdles at the European Indoors in Gothenburg in March, when O'Rourke was fourth by just hundredths of a second.
The confirmation that the Turk has been banned for testing positive at an event in Dusseldorf on February 8 indicates that all her subsequent results will be voided and that should see the Leevale star elevated to a bronze medal.
"Delighted Nevin Yanit has finally been given a drugs ban. It's the very least that should happen," O'Rourke said yesterday, adding "#lifeban#returnallmedals" on her Twitter account.
Ireland's former world indoor champion has been particularly frustrated at the length of time it has taken to give Yanit a formal ban, given that the Turk, who was fifth in the London Olympics, was temporarily suspended in May, when it was announced that she was being investigated for what an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) spokesman described as "multiple positive findings."
Back in 2010 the same athlete pipped O'Rourke for European outdoors gold by just two hundredths of a second. But the only results affected by her failed test are Yanit's races since February 8 of this season, which means that, as of now, her 2010 European outdoor title remains intact.
Athletics Ireland (AAI) confirmed that they have already contacted the European federation (EAA) to establish what procedures to follow now to get O'Rourke, a two-time silver medallist outdoors, upgraded to a European indoor bronze.
"We'll continue to communicate with European Athletics and the IAAF in order to establish the implications of this development for Derval O'Rourke and will urge the international federations to bring clarity to the situation as soon as possible," the AAI said.
The EAA said they have not yet received official notification from the IAAF and cannot make an official comment until that occurs. O'Rourke has admitted previously that, despite rumours about Yanit, she always tried to put them aside whenever racing her.
"I never thought about it because sometimes you can start using that as an excuse. You have a 'get out of jail card' with yourself in terms of performance," the Cork star said. "I never considered she might be doing something I'm not doing."