‘It’s a joke’: Irish athlete lashes out at authorities after defeat

‘It’s a joke’: Irish athlete lashes out at authorities after defeat
Fionnuala McCormack after finishing fourth in the Women's 10000m final on day one of the 23rd European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Fionnuala McCormack made no attempt to hide her frustration with the rules after finishing fourth in the 10,000m at the European athletic championships.

McCormack (née Britton) also finished in the same position in the event at the last European Championships in Helsinki four years ago.

But this time the pain of losing out on a medal was compounded by her dissatisfaction with the rules.

The race was Yasemin Can of Turkey. Formerly known as Vivian Jemutai, the 19-year-old is Kenyan born and competed for that country until May of last year.

She then changed her nationality to Turkish and became officially eligible to represent Turkey at international competition in March of this year.

“It’s a joke,” McCormack said to the Irish Examiner. “People shouldn’t be allowed to hop countries just because they feel like it. They’re taking such a soft approach?

“Once you’ve represented one country past a certain age, that should be your country for life.

“I don’t just want to go on like I’m bitter for coming fourth, because I’m not, but there’s a reason it’s called the European Championships.”

McCormack has also previously finished fourth at the European cross country championships and, despite running her second fastest ever time yesterday, admitted it was hard to take losing out on a medal once more.

“I’m sick of it,” she said, moments after stepping off the track. “It’s the exact same thing every f**king time. It’s more than frustrating at this stage.”

McCormack was the gold medallist at the 2011 and 2012 European Cross Country Championships and has represented Ireland in the steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

She will represent Ireland once again at the Olympics in Rio next month.

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