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O'Sullivan: Chinese stuned everyone
11 Feb 2016 22:10
Sonia O'Sullivan has said she knew the Chinese athletes who denied her World Championship gold in 1993 were performing "beyond human capability".
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O'Sullivan came fourth in the 3,000m and took silver in the 1,5000m back in '93, with only Chinese competitors ahead of her in both races.
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Qu Yunxia, Zhang Linli and Zhang Lirong made it a clean sweep for China in the 3,000m, with Liu Dong pipping O'Sullivan to gold in the 1,500m.
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However, a letter reportedly signed by Olympic champion Wang Junxia 19 years ago is believed to have lifted the lid on what amounted to a Chinese state-sponsored doping regime during that period, outlining how Chinese athletes were forced to take “large doses of illegal drugs over the years”.
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“A lot of the coaches and managers used to go and watch this every day and they couldn’t believe it."
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Speaking of her competitors' phenomenal performances on RTÉ 2fm's Game On, O'Sullivan said: “It wasn’t normal, the level of training they were doing between races, when most other people would be resting and getting ready to give the biggest performance on the day whereas they were out there racing around the track every day.
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“A lot of the coaches and managers used to go and watch this every day and they couldn’t believe it. The hardest thing was, there was nothing they could do about it. It was alien to everyone.
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"'What is going on, how are these people doing this?'. You say, 'okay well if you’re training that hard then of course you’re going to produce fantastic result', but how does your body cope with that? In the laws of general training and recovery it’s not possible.
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“To get the results they got they were cheating, but if they were cheating and they it wasn’t by choice, then definitely they were victims.
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“It was beyond human capability. I knew I couldn’t copy them because there were reports they were running 160 miles a week. At that time I wasn’t even running 100 miles a week.
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"I would keep running until I got an injury and I just couldn’t run. Then you’d have to go off and do alternate training and train three times as hard and on the bike and then come back ready to go again."
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