Fionnuala McCormack hits out at athletes who "hop countries whenever they feel like it"

The Wicklow woman finished fourth behind a Kenyan-born athlete who represented Turkey in Amsterdam

BY Daniel Kelly 08:57 Thursday 7 July 2016, 8:57 7 Jul 2016

Ireland's Fionnuala McCormack Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Karen Delvoije

Wicklow athlete Fionnuala McCormack finished fourth in the 10,000 metres of the European Championships on Wednesday night, but spoke afterwards about the IAAF's rules on international eligibility.

McCormack (nee Britton) finished in a season's best of 31:30.74 to finish less than 20 seconds behind Turkey's Yasemin Can. The Turkish athlete switched allegiances last year from Kenya, where she ran under her birth name of Vivian Jemutai.

While McCormack had nothing against Can's win, she told RTE's Gary Moran of her displeasure at the rules that allowed the Kenyan-born athlete compete for Turkey.

"I don't think people should be just allowed to just hop countries whenever they feel like it, because it's easy. There’s absolutely no reason - and I don't mean to be bad to people in Turkey - but there is not really any reason people would want to emigrate to Turkey at this point in time. It’s a dangerous country to be living in. Why would people feel like they want to represent them? I have no idea."

All athletes competing in Amsterdam, have the slogan "I RUN CLEAN" on their bibs. McCormack admitted that she feels the idea from European Athletics is pointless.  

"This whole thing, I just think is a complete joke. I’ve said it to people at the top and they’ve basically just said it’s not something that you have a choice in, you go and do it, because your told to do it as it makes it look good to the rest of the public... The athletes are basically pawns in the whole thing."

While McCormack ran the second best 10,000 metres time of her career, she now plans to switch her focus to the Marathon ahead of the Rio Olympics.


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