Saturday Panel: Irish Paralympian explains how athletes must always be vigalant when it comes to drugs

Ellen Keane is heading to Rio this summer

Saturday Panel: Irish Paralympian explains how athletes must always be vigalant when it comes to drugs

©INPHO/Ian MacNico

Ellen Keane will appear in her third Paralympics this summer and she's due to race on her 21st birthday.

Speaking to Nathan Murphy on the Saturday Panel, she said that while she's satisfied with her own preparatoins, she can relate to those who crumble when it comes to that defining moment in competition.

''Last year at the World Championships, everybody expected to win a medal in the 100m breaststroke and I expected to win a medal and I think it just kind of got to me. It was over before I knew it. I was racing in the final and came fifth and I swam terrible. And it took me so long to even look back on the race and I think I learnt a lot about it.''

The DIT student has since taken significant steps to remedy that disappointment by not following her competitors on Facebook and narrowing her focus so that she can work on her own performance. But one thing that remains constant is how she measures success in sport.

''Success to me is having a race that reflects how much training I put in, and how much I put into it. If I win a medal and I don't swim a best time or I swim a time that's ok but only a little bit better than my best, I won't be happy.''

The wider world of sport was rattled in recent weeks when tennis pro Maria Sharapova confessed to testing positive at the Australian Open for a drug called moldonium which was declared a banned substance at the beginning of 2016.

Sharapova said in a press conference that she was unaware that the substance was banned and denied all reports which stated she received five separate warnings about the change. 

Reacting to this, Keane spoke about her own cautious approach to taking any substance and insisted that athletes must remain vigilant at all times to stay compliant with ani-doping regulations. 

''I would hardly even take a paracetemol. I'd only take something if I really really needed it. The only thing you can really take from all the people getting caught is that they are being caught. It just shows that a lot of testing is going on.''

''I know I've been on the registry of testing programme since I was 10 so I've been drug tested all throughout my career so I know in Ireland, there is a lot of testing going on.''

''Even Sharapova saying she's been taking it for 10 years and she didn't know it was on the banned list - you have to keep checking. If I get a prescription from my sports science doctor who knows what's on the list, I'd check it. You're responsible for what goes in your body.''