Sonia O'Sullivan A True Blue

O’Sullivan in line to run for Australia

Duncan Mackay
Thursday January 26, 2006
The Guardian

Sonia O’Sullivan, recently voted Ireland’s greatest ever runner, will today receive the blue Australian passport that will make her eligible to run in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March. But she will still be able to represent her native Ireland at the European Championships in Gothenburg this August.

The 36-year-old, who won Olympic silver in 2000 over 5,000m, can exploit a loophole that the International Association of Athletics Federations does not recognise the Commonwealth Games, even though it pre-dates its world championships by 49 years, and therefore she is still eligible to represent Ireland.

“I have finally got my nationality sorted out but I will not really believe it until I’ve got the certificate in in my hand,” said O’Sullivan.

"Let’s remember I am Irish and they don’t come and compete in the Commonwealth Games but with dual nationality I can now do so.

“No matter what championship it might be, I would never compete against Ireland. That is the country where I was born and bred. But this is an exception.” O’Sullivan has close ties to Australia. Her partner, Nic Bideau, was born and raised in Melbourne, and her two children are Australian citizens. She has spent the past few winters training there at altitude.

With Paula Radcliffe, O’Sullivan’s long-term rival, unlikely to defend her 5,000m title to concentrate on the 10,000m, the new Australian citizen would line up as one of the favourites. First she needs to qualify at the national championships, although that should not be a problem. “I’ve just come back from altitude training at Falls Creek and it went really well,” said O’Sullivan. “I’m feeling fit and strong and now I need a couple of good track sessions before the trials.”

as an irishman i totally agree with what sonia has far as the irish athletic federation are concerned she is washed out! they should have stuck by this girl after what she has achieved.

go on sonia! get the respect you deserve.

I know what you mean by the ‘washed out’ comment.

I don’t have a problem with her running for Austraila, it makes sense.

However, we both know the ‘Comonwealth’ issue though will not go down well at home in many circles.