Saturday 24 February 2018

Wait almost over for O'Rourke as 'upgrade' medal on its way

Athletics

Ireland's Derval O'Rourke, left, will have her fourth place finish at the European Indoor Athletics Championships upgraded one spot
Ireland's Derval O'Rourke, left, will have her fourth place finish at the European Indoor Athletics Championships upgraded one spot
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DERVAL O'Rourke may not have to wait too much longer to get her hands on the bronze medal that she was cheated out of at last year's European Indoor Championships.

The woman who won the 60m hurdles title, Turkey's Nevin Yanit, subsequently got a two-year drugs ban, which means that O'Rourke, who finished fourth in Gothenburg, will be upgraded to third place.

That race took place in March, 2013 and Yanit was officially banned in August, yet O'Rourke has still not received the medal and has been frustrated by the inordinate delay.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has clarified to the Irish Independent that the delay has been caused because they are seeking to have Yanit's ban increased to four years.

Yanit, also the reigning two-time European 100m hurdles champion, is contesting this and the case is going to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. The preliminary stages of this hearing have taken place and it is expected to be settled in a matter of months.

The IAAF have explained the cause of the delay to O'Rourke and have written to her confirming that she will be upgraded – she was able to submit this letter to the Irish Sports Council this year for grant qualification purposes – but the Leevale star will not get her medal until the case is settled by CAS.

O'Rourke first got global recognition when she won the World Indoor title in 2006. Since then she has won two European silver medals outdoors (2006 and 2010) and another European indoor bronze in 2009. Arguably her greatest performance was fourth in the 2009 World Championships.

Yanit pipped her by two hundredths of a second, for European gold in 2010; the Turk tested positive in February 2013 and it was only her subsequent results that were expunged.

O'Rourke had to pull out of last summer's World Championships because of a serious Achilles problem which needed surgery.

She has worked tirelessly to regain full fitness and hopes to start racing again in late June in a bid to crown her career with another medal at the European Championships in Zurich in August.

Irish Independent

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