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O'Hanlon is 2017 National Champion after revised result as Sittuk stripped of title

Athletics Ireland have stated that Sittuk ‘failed to meet the required criteria for eligibility under the residency rule’.

O'Hanlon, Sittuk and Sergiu Ciobanu after the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday.
O'Hanlon, Sittuk and Sergiu Ciobanu after the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

GARY O’HANLON HAS been declared as the 2017 Irish National Marathon champion, as Freddy Sittuk has been stripped of his title after failing to meet eligibility criteria.

The news comes after a meeting of the Competition Committee of Athletics Ireland tonight, and they have since released a statement.

It reads:

“Following a meeting of the Competition Committee of Athletics Ireland (tonight, 1 November 2017), Gary O’Hanlon was declared Irish National Marathon champion.

“This follows the receipt of information from Raheny Shamrock AC, on 31 October that the declared winner of the race, Freddy Sittuk had failed to meet the required criteria for eligibility under the residency rule.  Sittuk was confirmed as eligible by his club prior to the event when, in fact, he had not met all the necessary criteria.

“Under the rule agreed by the delegates at the 2016 Athletics Ireland Congress, an athlete with an unbroken 6 months residency in Ireland immediately prior to the Championship, is eligible to compete for the National Championships title and medal positions.”

Gary O'Hanlon crosses the line to be the second Irish finisher Gary O'Hanlon. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kenyan-born Sittuk has been running regularly for Raheny club over the past five years. Ian O’Riordan of The Irish Times is reporting that Sittuk ‘had returned to his native Kenya in the weeks before Dublin’.

His time of 2:16:05 won the race on Sunday, while Clonliffe Harriers duo O’Hanlon and Sergiu Ciobanu finished second and third respectively. O’Hanlon ran a time of 2:18:52.

Commenting on the situation, Athletics Ireland’s Competition Committee Chairman John Cronin said “the information initially received by the Association indicated that Freddy Sittuk was eligible and therefore he was deemed champion on Sunday.

A view of the leading pack containing eventual Men's national winner Freddy Sittuk and second placed Gary O'Hanlon A view of the leading pack on Sunday containing both O'Hanlon and Sittuk. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“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 National 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,” Cronin added.

“We do, however, look forward to presenting Gary with his Championship title and medal shortly.”

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Emma Duffy

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