Monday 26 September 2016

McCormack's European fury

Cathal Dennehy

Published 07/07/2016 | 02:30

Fionnuala McCormack of Ireland after finishing fourth in the Women's 10000m final on day one of the 23rd European Athletics Championships Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Fionnuala McCormack of Ireland after finishing fourth in the Women's 10000m final on day one of the 23rd European Athletics Championships Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Everyone has their breaking point, and at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam last night, Fionnuala McCormack reached hers. The 31-year-old finished an agonising fourth in the 10,000m final for the second successive time at the European Championships, and moments after walking off the track, she took aim at the powers that be.

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The race was won by Turkey's Yasemin Can, formerly Vivian Jemutai of Kenya, who transferred allegiance last year and duly routed the field to win in 31:12.86. McCormack finished fourth in 31:30.74, and lashed out at the lax rules which allow athletes to switch nationality.

"It's a joke," said McCormack. "People shouldn't be allowed to hop countries just because they feel like it. They're taking such a soft approach. There's absolutely no reason people would want to emigrate to Turkey at this point in time. It's a dangerous place, so why would people feel like they want to represent them?

"Once you've represented one country past a certain age, that should be your country for life. I don't just want to go on like I'm bitter for coming fourth, because I'm not, but there's a reason it's called the European Championships."

McCormack (née Britton) has finished fourth three times at the European Cross-Country, and this was her second time finishing just outside the medals at this event, which left her understandably frustrated despite having run the second fastest time of her career. "It's the exact same every f****** time," she said. "There's no point getting close to a PB and not getting a medal. I'm sick of it really."

McCormack also spoke out against the 'I run clean' bibs which athletes are being forced to wear at the Championships, something she feels has no effect on eradicating the doping problem.

"It's a complete joke. I've said it to people at the top and they've basically just said it's not something you have a choice in, just go and do it as it makes [the sport] look good to the rest of the public. The athletes are basically pawns in the whole thing."

After Can broke away early, McCormack ran with the chasing pack before losing contact with a little over eight laps to run, but the Kilcoole athlete had no regrets about her performance. "I think I did everything I could," she said.

Irish Independent

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