Ireland’s Derval O’Rourke has spoken of her ongoing frustration at not being given the medal she is due following the disqualification of Turkish athlete Nevin Yanit at the European Indoor Championships.
Yanit won gold in the women’s 60 metre hurdles in Gothenburg in March with the result leaving O’Rourke just outside the medal positions in fourth.
However, the Turkish athlete has since been banned for doping violations and Derval O’Rourke has been eager to claim the medal she is now due.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, O’Rourke said she was not shocked by the positive test.
The 32-year-old said: “It wasn’t a surprise to me. There was talk since 2010 when she won gold ... I tried not to talk about it but people came up to me and talked a lot about it. I never considered that she might be doing something I’m not doing."
“Even at European indoors when she beat me, the main thing I felt afterwards was ‘God, if had one more race' ... I don’t think she was better, but she just had a better race in that moment.”
Yanit also won gold medals in the European Outdoor 100 metre hurdles in 2010 (when Derval O’Rourke finished second) and again in 2012.
O’Rourke said: “I go back in my head to 2010 [when] she beat me by 200th of a second for a European outdoor gold - an outdoor European gold is huge in our sport.
“I never thought about it, because I think sometimes you can start using that as an excuse, ‘Oh my god, everyone’s on drugs'. You have a get out jail card with yourself in terms of performance.
“The European outdoors was my first championship in 2002 and I got knocked out first round and it gave me such motivation to try and be better, so to think she (Yanit) may have gotten her gold that way, that’s a bit frustrating.”
Following the disqualification, O’Rourke expected to be awarded the bronze medal, but nothing has happened since.
"I woke up one morning and I just got frustrated - so I started ringing people like a crazy person" - Derval O'Rourke
She said: “It’s dragged on and on and it’s August and I’ve heard nothing. I waited and I didn’t hear anything. Everyone kept asking me about it and I left it for about eight weeks.
“Then, I woke up one morning and I just got frustrated - so I started ringing people like a crazy person. First I rang European Atheltics, European Athletics said you have to ring WADA, then WADA said ring IAAF.
“I talked a little bit to Athletics Ireland about it, but they’ve never had this situation before - where they had to go get backdated medals - so I don’t know what the procedure is.
“I rang the Turkish federation as well and asked them, which was probably the craziest moment! They were like ‘em we will ring you back’ and I was like ’OK, can you tell someone Derval O’Rourke rang, D.E.R.VA.L.’ I spelt it for them and everything so they would get it right but funnily enough no one rang me back.”
On the broader issue of doping, O’Rourke accepts there are a certain percentage of top athletes who are doping, but she feels more could be done.
There are hopes that new longer bans for doping will discourage those who cheat.
“Four years at a minimum – that’s coming in, in 2015. That’s a huge thing for clean athletes. One of the things that’s very frustrating is sometimes people test positive and get bans – and they are back quicker than I’ve been back from injuries.
"You’re like ‘I’ve spent more time rehabbing than you’ve spent on a drug ban!’ That has been a really difficult thing. But now in 2015 that should change.”