Fionnuala McCormack expects Russians at Olympics

Fionnuala McCormack expects the IAAF to relent and allow Russian athletes to compete at this year’s Olympic Games, along with several other nations whose anti-doping systems have come under fire in recent months.

Russia was banned from international competition last year after evidence of systematic doping emerged, and the IAAF gave offic until March to implement a series of changes or face expulsion from the Olympics. Last month that deadline was extended, with the IAAF set to vote on their return at an extraordinary council meeting in May.

“I can’t see them not being there,” said McCormack. “The whole thing is such a mess that I can’t see anyone standing up and saying: ‘you’re out’. The corruption is so much at the top that I don’t see how they’ll be able to say who can and can’t compete. If they throw out Kenya too, it’s just going to keep going down and down, so I just presume they’ll all be there.”

McCormack is qualified for both the 10,000m and marathon , and she will take an important step tomorrow when she competes in the SPAR Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park, which incorporates the national 10km.

This will be her third Olympics, but the 31-year-old admitted the doping and corruption scandals have left her with a different outlook.

“I’m probably more cynical, but you get more cynical about things when you get older,” she said.

McCormack returned from the US earlier this week after a stint of altitude training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She made a promising start to her Olympic campaign when finishing fourth in the New York City Half Marathon in mid-March, and gave herself an additional option in Rio de Janeiro by qualifying for the 10,000m, running 32:05.08 at the Stanford Invitational last weekend. With less than 48 hours between the 10,000m final and marathon in Rio, a double up would be difficult.



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