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Dublin: 1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Irish coaches 'kept in the dark' as Michael O'Reilly sent home in shame

Boxer becomes first Irish athlete to be sent home from the Games for doping violation.

Michael O'Reilly:
Michael O'Reilly: "unintentionally took a supplement that may have contained a prohibited substance."
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

– Niall Kelly reports from Rio de Janeiro

IRISH BOXER MICHAEL O’Reilly left the Olympic Games in shame on Tuesday evening after admitting that his failed drugs test was caused by a supplement he had taken.

The Portlaoise middleweight was forced to leave the Athlete’s Village — becoming the first Irish athlete to be sent home from the Olympics for a doping violation.

After six days of confusion, O’Reilly revealed that he was given a supplement “by someone unrelated to his team or association” which may have contained a banned substance.

He dropped the appeal lodged against his provisional suspension and, facing the prospect of a lengthy ban, is set to fly home from Rio as soon as possible.

“I don’t want to sound too dismissive because there are families involved but I never gave (the case) a thought,” coach Eddie Bolger said on Tuesday.

“As far as I know now, he has dropped his appeal and is on his way home.

To be honest lads, and I’m a fairly open person, we’ve been kept in the dark. As far as I know, he is on his way home or is going home.

Bolger expressed his sympathy for O’Reilly’s family but indicated that the scandal has had no adverse impact on the team’s preparations and performance in Rio.

“I feel for his family. It’s a serious issue.

“The IABA, the high-performance unit especially, in the last year or two have been absolutely outstanding, supporting myself, Zaur Antia and John Conlan.

I feel for his family, I feel for any individual, but I’m here to enjoy the Olympics and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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