O’Rourke: Drugs cheat Yanit robbed me of European gold

Derval O’Rourke welcomed news that Turkey’s European indoor 60m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit has been banned for two years, which should see the Cork star upgraded to the bronze medal — but believes she should also be getting the European outdoor gold from 2010.

O’Rourke finished second behind Yanit at the Europeans in 2010 and was in reflective mood yesterday wondering what might have been.

“It’s not as if she was just on drugs this year,” said O’Rourke. “In the last two years previous she has been European outdoor [100m hurdles] champion twice [Gothenburg in 2010 and Helsinki 2012], fifth in the Olympics [London] and she wonindoors [Gothenburg] this year.

“I woke up to the news this morning but I don’t know any other details,” said O’Rourke, who finished fourth at the European Indoor Championships.

“The IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] will forward the information to the European Athletics Association but I’m not going to get a medal any time soon.

“I don’t think the punishment really fits. I doubt she will have to pay back the money she has earned and I can’t see her writing me a cheque for all my lost earnings.

“The main thing is I think she robbed me of a gold medal at the indoors. She failed the test on February 8 so I don’t know why she was even allowed run.”

The women’s 60m hurdles was held on March 1.

“I only missed out on a medal by one-hundredth of a second and she was in the lane between me and the other two girls [Alina Talay of Belarus and Veronica Borsi of Italy both ran 7.95 seconds].

“She shouldn’t have been in the equation. And if I was running in a lane beside those two girls, I think I would have beaten them. I’m really good on the dip. I was just focusing on beating her and unaware of the other two.”

The Cork athlete is taking the rough with the smooth though, and is relieved just to be pain free after struggling for months with an agonising Achilles injury.

“It’s been the roughest summer I’ve had as an athlete,” said O’Rourke, who is on crutches after undergoing Achilles surgery by famed Swedish surgeon Hakan Alfredson in London.

“I had two bits of bone lodged in the Achilles insertion and it was a rough surgery. He had to cut through the Achilles tendon. It’s a relief though, not to be in pain anymore. I’ll have to rest and let it heal until November, December time and then try and get back running.”

The indoor season looks unlikely but the European outdoor championships in Zurich in 2014 are definitely on the horizon for the 32-year-old.

Yanit, who was officially given a two-year ban by the Turkish Athletics Federation yesterday, joins 31 other Turkish athletes given two-year bans on August 5, which puts huge question marks over Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Olympics. While she may have a long wait to receive the bronze medal that is rightfully hers, O’Rourke knows what she will do with it when she does get it.

“Another medal will be nice,” said O’Rourke, who already has world indoor gold, two European outdoor silvers and a European indoor bronze amongst her medal collection.

“My dad keeps them somewhere and when I retire I’ll put them into a display and it will be good to have another one to add to it.”


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