Thursday 27 July 2017

Barr backs McCormack's criticism of transfer rules and anti-doping 'gimmicks'

Thomas Barr echoed McCormack’s belief that the initiative to have athletes wear ‘I run clean’ bibs is doing little to combat the doping problem. Picture Credit: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Thomas Barr echoed McCormack’s belief that the initiative to have athletes wear ‘I run clean’ bibs is doing little to combat the doping problem. Picture Credit: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Thomas Barr has spoken out in support of Irish team-mate Fionnuala McCormack, who railed against the rules which allowed a former Kenyan athlete to represent Turkey and win gold in Wednesday evening's 10,000m final.

McCormack was denied a medal by seven seconds after finishing fourth in 31:30.74, with Yasemin Can of Turkey taking the title in 31:12.86. The gold medallist became the latest in a long line of athletes to adopt a new nation and win medals at European level, which led McCormack to brand the rules concerning the transfers of allegiance "a joke".

Read More: Barr takes positives for Rio after missing out on final

Barr, however, believes the comments were justified. "I'd 100 per cent back Fionnuala," he said. "Had it been some other athlete that's used to mouthing off, it would have fallen on deaf ears, but as it's Fionnuala, who's so modest and quietly spoken, her message hit hard. She made her points very clearly and very rationally, so it made sense. She had good reason for it."

Barr echoed McCormack's belief that the initiative to have athletes wear 'I run clean' bibs is doing little to combat the doping problem.

"I think it's a bit of a gimmick because there are people out there wearing it that are not running clean," he said.

"I can see why they did it. It's to put the message out there that [the sport is] going the right way, but I don't think it has the desired effect.

"There's people [wearing the bibs] that have served doping bans and it is a bit of a joke."

Irish Independent

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