Bronze award is bittersweet for McGettigan after long wait
THE tricolour was rolled out and Amhran na bhFiann blared - but it just didn't feel quite right for Roisin McGettigan who was yesterday awarded a belated 1,500m bronze medal for her performance at the 2009 European indoor championships.
The Wicklow runner was presented the medal by Athletics Ireland at their annual awards banquet after the race winner Anna Alminova failed a drugs test - resulting in McGettigan's promotion from fourth to third.
"It's bizarre really. I feel like I'm in some sort of time machine," the former Olympic steeplechase finalist said after flying in from the USA for the event.
"I still missed that feeling of crossing the line and realising you'd won a medal. That's not quite the same as getting it now."
McGettigan (34) used the event to call for drug cheats to face lifetime bans from sport, stating their actions adversely affect honest athletes. "There should be a stronger deterrent, they should never get back," she said.
"It (doping) ruins the sport. It leaves us clean athletes trying to pick up the pieces and it doesn't balance out. If the cheats come back there's another negative story."
A similar ceremony is planned to present Robert Heffernan with a bronze for the 20km walk for the 2010 European Championships after the Russian winner was suspended.
Among the other award winners on the night was 21-year-old Mark English, 800m bronze medal winner at this summer's European Champ ionships, who took home three gongs overall, including 'Athlete of the Year'.
Phil Conway, from the Crusaders Athletic Club, won the Lifetime Achievement award for his dedication to Irish Athletics.