Wednesday 7 December 2016

Irish hero Olive Loughnane still owed $30k from Russian drug cheat

Published 01/12/2016 | 16:55

Olive Loughnane of Ireland with her gold medal for the Women's 20km Walk
Olive Loughnane of Ireland with her gold medal for the Women's 20km Walk

Ireland's Olive Loughnane is still owed $30k from drug cheat Olga Kaniskina and faces the ridiculous prospect of not receiving a penny.

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Loughnane finished second in the final of the World Championship 20-kilometer walk in Berlin in 2009 but Russia's Olga Kaniskina, who crossed the line in first place, was later banned for doping and the Irish woman was recognised as the race winner earlier this year.

She was honoured at a ceremony at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam in July, but she is yet to receive the winning cash prize.

The sport's governing body, the IAAF, only redistributes prize money to those who were upgraded when the banned athlete pays it back first. Should athletes not pay back the money, they face the possibility of their bans being increased but this does not stop some athletes from retiring.

Kaniskina is 31 and her coach Nikolai Lukashkin recently told the R-Sport agency: "She hasn’t definitely ended her career. She’s still thinking.”

According to Associated Press, up to $410k is owed to dozens of athletes.

Independent.ie understands that Loughnane has no interest in pursuing the money and is keen to move on in her life.

In an interview earlier this year with AP, Loughnane said: “I’ve three young children. They will be going to college. It’s not an insignificant amount. I didn’t earn anywhere near the amount of money as an athlete that would allow me to retire.”

An IAAF statement, reported on AP, read: “We are already consulting the athletes commission and other members of the IAAF family on a viable system that would satisfy all parties. We are confident that the changes and proposals we are compiling will be reflected in the next IAAF Competition Rules.”

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