Search icon

World of Sport

05th Feb 2016

Sonia O’Sullivan in line for two gold medals after Chinese doping scandal

Conan Doherty

Sonia O’Sullivan could be about to receive two World Championship gold medals, almost 23 years later.

Ireland’s most renowned athlete won one silver at the 1993 World Athletic Championships in Stuggart but her second and fourth place finishes in the 1500m and 3000m races could be upgraded with Chinese media reporting that their athletes at the time were given ‘large doses of illegal drugs’.

O’Sullivan was pipped to the podium by three Chinese runners in the 3000m race but she performed a sensational fight-back to come in second in the 1500m final, still a full three seconds behind Liu Dong.

The successful Chinese team was trained by Ma Junren but it is now being reported in China that all nine athletes were taking large doses of illegal drugs over a long period of time, and the source is said to be that of team member Wang Junxia.


Junxia is said to have penned a letter of admission outlining a regime of state-sponsored doping. The letter was also reported to have been signed by all nine members of the team.

The letter was published in Tencent Sports and the South China Morning Post.

“We are humans, not animals,” the letter read. “For many years, [Ma Junren] forced us to take a large dose of illegal drugs. It was true.

“Our feelings are sorry and complex when exposing his deeds. We are also worried that we would harm our country’s fame and reduce the worth of the gold medals we have worked very hard to get.”

The IAAF have confirmed that they are now looking into the letter and the doping allegations.

“The IAAF’s first action must be to verify that the letter is genuine,” a spokesperson stated. “In this respect, the IAAF has asked the Chinese Athletics Association to assist it in that process.”