Friday 28 October 2016

'She didn't look very tired afterwards': Sonia O'Sullivan isn't convinced after Ethiopian smashes 10,000m world record

Published 12/08/2016 | 17:02

While Ireland was celebrating the O'Donovan brothers' silver medal down at the marina in Rio de Janeiro, there were some extraordinary scenes taking place on day one of the track and field.

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Ethiopian long distance runner Almaz Ayana obliterated a 23-year-old world record as she took gold in the 10000m in a time of 29.17.45, which was a full 14 seconds faster than the record set by China's Wang Junxia in 1993.

The reaction to the sensational race was muted among viewers, with people unsure about what to make of the run.

Speaking on RTE's Olympic coverage, Sonia O'Sullivan, who won silver in the 5000m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, was skeptical when talking about Ayana's historic run.

"She broke the world record by a clear 15 seconds which is about 100m," O'Sullivan said.

"That's a world record that many people would have questioned for a long time, 23 years ago set by the Chinese. I'm not jumping out of my seat because you question it as well yourself, how can you do that? It is 23 years later. Is it 23 years of knowing more training, being better athletes? How do you have an athlete that can break the world record so easily like that? She didn't look very tired afterwards."

O'Sullivan was then asked by Joanne Cantwell whether the experience of her own career made her question these sort of achievements.

"Things that you thought were impossible, were out of reach and would never be broken and then all of a sudden they are broken by the length of a straight," O'Sullivan said.

"You do have to question it a little bit."

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