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Derval follows her European glory with broadside at athletics bosses

European silver medal-winner Derval O'Rourke has launched a broadside at athletics bosses.

The 29-year-old, who won her second European silver in four years in Barcelona at the weekend, recalled that she was in hospital in Athens after the 2004 Olympics "and I don't think anyone rang me".

"After a while your skin does get thick. I just have the people around me I trust and have a lot of faith in."

She is trained by Sean and Terrie Cahill and was quick to thank them after claiming silver in the 100 metres hurdles at the Olympic stadium.

She said: "We say we're Team Cahill. We're very separate in what we do. They do it completely for free."

Setting her sights firmly on next year's World Championships in South Korea, she hit out at Athletics Ireland (AAI), letting her own federation have it with both barrels.

"I'm happy with my own team; I'm not necessarily happy with where 'high performance sport' is in athletics," she said.

"But I've had to disassociate with that and do my own thing because I think if you don't paddle your own canoe in Irish athletics, you're going nowhere and that's a bit sad."

She also complained that "high performance plans keep coming out and are not followed through", which observers said was a clear reference to the fact that the AAI's latest elite strategy concentrated solely on the 2016 Olympics, despite the London Olympics being just two years away.



Disrespectful

"I find it difficult hearing about 2016 -- I think it's somewhat disrespectful to the current crop of athletes who are doing very well," she said.

"Give us some support for 2012 and recognise that AAI are lucky to have the athletes they have now.

"It's not a fairytale land. Wanting an indoor facility seemed to be too big an ask, wanting systems and structures in place seems to be too big an ask, but I think it's unfair to criticise athletes this week because there's deeper problems.

"We are in a situation where we pay high-performance consultants' fees and we pay high-performance managers but we don't pay coaches. This is very strange to me."

On Saturday night, the former World Indoor champion added yet another major championship medal and a new national record in what was a lightning fast final.

O'Rourke clocked 12.65 seconds taking 0.02 of a second off her previous best and national record.

President McAleese congratulated O'Rourke on her win, saying: "We are all incredibly proud of Derval's wonderful achievement and join in celebrating this well deserved silver medal win for one of our finest young athletes."

mlavery@herald.ie


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