Athletics

Irish National Marathon Champion Stripped Of Title After Eligibility Debacle

Irish National Marathon Champion Stripped Of Title After Eligibility Debacle

On Wednesday night, Freddie Sittuk was stripped of the Irish National Marathon Championship title which he won following the weekend's Dublin Marathon. The title is awarded to the highest finishing Irish runner in the race.

Sittuk, running for Raheny Shamrocks, had beaten Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers to the title. Sergiu Ciobanu, also of Clonliffe Harriers, finished in third.

Information received from Raheny Shamrocks prior to the race suggested that Sittuk, who hails from Kenya, had met the eligibility criteria for the National Championship. Runners are required to have been resident in Ireland for six unbroken months immediately prior to the event.

Earlier this week, Raheny Shamrocks furnished Athletics Ireland with information which showed Sittuk had failed to meet the criteria.

After a meeting of the Competition Committee of Athletics Ireland, Dundalk's Gary O'Hanlon has instead been named National Champion.

Chairman of the committee, John Cronin, said it was "regrettable" that O'Hanlon had not been named champion on Sunday.

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Once we received information from the club stating that the athlete had, in fact, not met the criteria, the Committee met to discuss the situation and Gary O’Hanlon has been deemed Marathon Champion.

The process for confirming residency eligibility for National Championships has, up to this event, worked well but the fact that Gary was not awarded this title and his gold medal on Sunday is very regrettable. We do, however, look forward to presenting Gary with his Championship title and medal shortly.

Sittuk has been competing in Ireland for a number of years. However, according to Ian O'Riordan of the Irish Times, Sittuk travelled back to Kenya in the weeks before Sunday's race.

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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