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Published: 11:20 | 5/2/16

O'Sullivan could be awarded world gold medals

Chinese women’s distance runners were ‘forced to take large doses of illegal drugs’

Sonia O'Sullivan could be awarded two World Championship gold medals after reports emerged about illegal drug taking in the Chinese athletics team during the 1990s.

In the 1993 World Championship’s, O’Sullivan came fourth in the 3000m and took silver in the 1500m, with only Chinese competitors finishing ahead of her in both races.

The Irish Times reports that O’Sullivan may now receive gold retrospectively after serious questions emerged about the dominant Chinese women’s distance runners of the 1990s.

All of the Chinese runners trained under Ma Junren, or “Ma’s army” as they were known, and first came to prominence at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart.

Now, though, according to Chinese state media reports, all nine of Ma’s Army were forced to take “large doses of illegal drugs over the years”.

Wang Junxia, who won the 10,000m in Stuttgart, and the gold medal over 5,000m at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta has reportedly lifted the lid on what amounted to a Chinese state-sponsored doping regime during that period in a letter sent to a Chinese journalist.

The letter was reportedly also signed by nine of Wang's team-mates, and sent to a journalist named Zhao Yu, but remained unpublished for 19 years, until this week.

The IAAF have launched a probe into the claims.

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