Athlete Finegan: Hard training, not drugs, reason for success

Athlete Geraldine Finegan has insisted she has "never knowingly taken an illegal or legal substance to help (her) performance", after Athletics Ireland announced she had tested positive for the prohibited substance ephedrine.

In a joint statement, Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council said ephedrine was found in a sample of the athlete’s urine after the 60 metres hurdles race at the World Masters Championships in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada on March 5, 2010.

Finnegan’s results in the race - second place and a silver medal - were automatically disqualified in accordance with the Irish anti-doping rules.

Finegan said she had used a nasal decongestant, purchased in a local health shop, before the race, and had been assured by the shop manager that it was legal and "supplied to adults and children alike".

In a statement today, Finegan said she bought the decongestant the day after she had received medical attention to relieve symptoms of asthma and nasal decongestion.

"The next day whilst still suffering from the same symptoms and, having to compete in further events, I purchased an nasal decongestant from the health shop company," she said, saying she would advise all sports people to be aware of the full ingredients of any over-the-counter cold and flu remedies.

"I take pride in knowing that my achievements have been gained through my own endeavours and hard training."

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