Tuesday 23 January 2018

China drug claims may turn into gold for Sonia

Sonia O'Sullivan after taking part in the 2015 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon (Fergal Phillips)
Sonia O'Sullivan after taking part in the 2015 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon (Fergal Phillips)

Olympic silver-medallist Sonia O'Sullivan could be in line to add to her amazing international medal haul after reports in the Chinese media revealed that athletes were given 'large doses of illegal drugs' in the 1990s.

The Cobh woman could be in line to be awarded two World Championship gold medals retrospectively from 1993 in Stuttgart. O'Sullivan finished second to Liu Dong in the 1,500m at the Championships and was controversially run out of a medal place by three Chinese athletes in the 3,000m.

Doubts over the performances of the Chinese athletes in Stuttgart have lingered for over two decades and now these sensational, but not unexpected, revelations are emanating from the country.

Speaking to The Anton Savage Show on Today FM, O'Sullivan said: "I would be surprised if two gold medals turn up. If the record books are set straight and my name appears in there as the winner as the world record holder, as I would have had for eight years, that would give me satisfaction to see that.

"I don't think two medals in a package is going to make any difference to me. Just knowing that something that you questioned, something that you didn't believe in those years ago ... and you were right in not believing it, that would give me a lot of satisfaction. I'm not hoping for anything but the news gives a kind of credit to what a lot of people thought all along.

"Anyone who was involved in athletics at the time ... joking, there were a lot of Chinese whispers going around about the Chinese takeaway.

"There was a lot of talk but nothing ever proven. Nobody spoke out loud or said anything then the Chinese athletes and their coach disappeared and everybody else moved on.

"It was kind of forgotten about and brushed under the carpet for such a long time that when I first heard about this this morning it was surprise to get the news ... but it wasn't a surprise what the news was.

"They were running more miles than anyone had ever run in their life which would allow you to run very fast times and do extraordinary things but how do you do that, and how do you keep doing it?

"Instead of dwelling on, 'I can't compete or I can't keep up', I went out and trained really hard. I got injured doing it, managed to recover from it and I came out in '94 and ran better than before and the Chinese never turned up."

The IAAF is investigating claims double world record holder Wang Junxia has admitted to doping.

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