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Drug cheats keeping Rio medals is 'wrong' - McCormack

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Fionnuala McCormack says Russia have ‘been made scapegoats’. Photo: Sportsfile

Fionnuala McCormack says Russia have ‘been made scapegoats’. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Fionnuala McCormack says Russia have ‘been made scapegoats’. Photo: Sportsfile

Fionnuala McCormack still loves running but she has become cynical about the sport she adores.

Her attitude is understandable. Take the marathon at the Rio Olympics in 2016, in which McCormack finished a creditable 20th.

The gold and silver medallists, Kenyans Jemima Sumgong and Eunice Kirwa - who now represents Bahrain - are now serving bans after testing positive for EPO. However, because the offences were detected after the Rio Games, they both keep their medals.

"There's something wrong with that," says McCormack, who ran the second fastest marathon by an Irish woman in Chicago last year, finishing fifth in a personal best time of 2:26.47.

The event hit the headlines as another Kenyan, Brigid Kosgei, won the race in a jaw-dropping 2:14.04, smashing the previous women's marathon record.

"I don't know," says McCormack when asked about the credibility of the time. "I'm very cynical now. I don't know what to believe.

"I feel a bit sorry for Russia in a way. They've been made scapegoats.

"I know people will say you can't ban Kenya because it's not State-sponsored. But, there shouldn't be that many people getting caught and it looks like they need to do more than just ban them four weeks later."

Asked how she feels about possibly having been deprived of championship medals by drug cheats, McCormack said it wasn't for her to comment on.

"If I did, I'd be called bitter and having sour grapes. That's for other people to decide.

"I need to stand on the start-line like everyone else and put myself out there and do the best I can.

"It's very tough coming fourth but coming off you're disappointed in yourself, not what other people have done," said the former back-to-back European cross country champion.

McCormack, who is almost certain to become a four-time Olympian in Tokyo, is vocal in her condemnation of the controversial decision by World Athletics to legalise the controversial Nike-manufactured Vaporfly racing shoe.

"The whole thing disappoints me. I'm not a fan of the shoes. I feel like World Athletics have let us down in the last week. I think they were weak. It makes me sad. To me, that's not what the sport is about.

"But I feel like the only (athlete) who feels like that, apart from people who ran 20 years ago,"

Irish Independent