Wednesday 22 January 2020

Boxer Michael O'Reilly 'has passed 14 drugs tests in 30 months'

Michael O’Reilly: legal team has appealed his suspension. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael O’Reilly: legal team has appealed his suspension. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Boxer Michael O'Reilly has undergone "around 14 drug tests in the last 30 months" and has always come up clean, according to a source close to his camp.

O'Reilly (23) has been provisionally suspended from competing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after it emerged last Thursday that he had failed a drugs test.

The Irish Sports Council, which is responsible for anti-doping here, has confirmed that his legal representatives have now lodged an appeal.

Initially, it was thought that the boxer had decided against requesting that his 'B' sample be tested.

However, it was reported yesterday that his team had a change of heart, which suggests O'Reilly believes the first test was a false positive.

There was no confirmation of that decision last night.

"He has been tested around 14 times over the last two-and-a-half years. He has never, ever failed one of those tests," the source said.

"This whole thing will play out and the story will be told."

A spokesperson for the Irish Sports Council said it was not in a position to verify or dispute the testing figures last night.

Read more: Michael O'Reilly to insist he's clean via Skype link

But he pointed out that boxers can be tested internationally in addition to the tests carried out in Ireland.

O'Reilly was moved out of the Irish boxing team's accommodation in the athletes' village at the end of last week until the appeal process is completed.

It was reported over the weekend that O'Reilly believes he has "documentary evidence" that could clear him to fight his scheduled first bout on Friday.

It is understood that he has been left devastated by the positive test result.

The appeal hearing is due to take place in the next two days.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Irish team have been putting the issue behind them.

Boxing coach Zaur Antia was adamant yesterday that the controversy would not affect the team's medal prospects.

"About O'Reilly, I can't say anything at the moment" Antia said. "I don't know anything about this. And I am only focusing now to look after the boys."

Assistant manager Eddie Bolger said: "It hasn't affected us in any way whatsoever. And we hope to be here at the end of next week."

Stephen Donnelly was the first of the team to fight yesterday and eased past Algerian Zohir Kadache.

Irish Independent

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