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Published: 15:35 | 5/2/16

Sonia O'Sullivan hoping truth will will emerge

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

Sonia O’Sullivan says that knowing the truth about illegal-doping amongst her Chinese rivals would be more valuable to her than a retrospectively awarded gold medal from the 1993 World Championships.

Reports in the Chinese media this week told of a letter signed by former Olympic champion Wang Junxia and nine of her team-mates that accused their former coach Ma Junren of forcing them to take “large doses of illegal drugs”.

In the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, 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 IAAF has confirmed that they are investigating the originality of the letter, and if the Chinese athletes were found guilty, O’Sullivan could be awarded two gold medals.

However, the Cork native insists that finding the truth is more important that receiving the medals.

"If the truth comes out, the difference to me would be just knowing that what you thought was unbelievable and not possible, that you were right in thinking that,” O’Sullivan told RTE radio.

“You weren't just thinking that because they were much better.”

O’Sullivan admitted that she and her coaches has suspicions about the times set by the Chinese athletes during the Championship, but accepted that it is very hard to prove doping exists.

"As athletes and coaches you know when something is not quite right and is out of the ordinary but it's amazing how much it takes to prove that,” she contined.

"If something like that can be proven all these years later, that the athletes can't live with it any more and they're going to say 'we weren't doing the right thing back then’,” she continued.

"In a sense, you can't blame the athletes because it appears that it was a system. They were being told what to do and they didn't have a choice. But at the same time, they went out there and they ran the races.

"I always wonder, if you cheat to get something, how can you sleep at night and go on with your life and be happy with yourself?"

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