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Michael O’Reilly to fight ‘severe’ ban for doping offence before Rio 2016


By Ronnie Esplin

Michael O'Reilly will appeal a four-year Sport Ireland ban for a doping offence just before Rio 2016 to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The sanction was handed down yesterday.

His former coach at Portlaoise BC, Pat Ryan, former president of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA), said that the European Games middleweight champion believes a four-year ban is severe.

O'Reilly was sent home from Rio after he admitted taking a banned substance. He didn't throw a punch at the Games.

The 24-year-old stated that he unintentionally took a supplement that may have contained a prohibited substance which he got from someone unrelated to the Ireland team.

Part of his statement at the time read that he received notification on August 4 (2016) that an adverse finding had been made against him. The adverse finding arises out of a matter which was not deliberate or intentional.

Ryan said that the only source of income the World Elite bronze medallist had was his funding as an Elite athlete and that he had a wife and three children.

"Michael did not intentionally or knowingly ingest one supplement. The sanction was most certainly warranted regardless of the innocent, careless or reckless mistake he made. He received a four-year ban," said Ryan last night. "Michael has said will be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as he feels it is disproportionate and that it is extremely severe. The one supplement that Michael took was a prohibited substance and was not an illegal substance."

O'Reilly was in an eight-strong team at the Games acclaimed as the greatest Irish boxing team assembled at an Olympics.

But the squad failed to win a medal, with defending lightweight champion Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan, then the world champion, going out in the last-eight to disputed results to Mira Potkonen and Vladimir Nikitin respectively.

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