Cheats caught

Drug cheats are figuratively dropping out of trees even before the London Olympic Games get underway on Friday.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced today that nine athletes, including Olympic bronze medallist Nataliya Tobias, had been involved in “sophisticated doping”.

According to the IAAF drugs offences by six athletes had been detected as a result of the new ‘biological passport’ while three others, including Ukraine’s Tobias, third in the women’s 1500m in Beijing four years ago, had been caught as a result of the re-testing of samples from last year’s World Championships in South Korea.

“Today’s announcements underline the IAAF’s continued and unwavering campaign against doping in Athletics,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack.

“They demonstrate the IAAF’s commitment to use advanced methods to detect doping and to enforce increased sanctions when justified. We will not stint in our resolve to do everything in our power to eradicate cheating.”

The IAAF also said that, in addition to the “usual extensive anti-doping programme” which is carried out at all major Championships and Games, 200 Athlete Biological Passport tests will be carried out during athletics events in London.

The six athletes found guilty of doping offences under the ‘biological passport’ system were Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri, Greece’s Irini Kokkinariou, Turkey’s Meryem Erdogan, and three Russians – Svetlana Klyuka, Yevgenina Zinurova and Nailiya Yulamanova, the 2011 European Indoors 800m champion.

All six were initially subject to four-year bans. However, four of the six (Erdogan, Klyuka, Yulamanova and Zinurova) promptly admitted they had committed an anti-doping rule violation and waived their right to a hearing. As a result, the IAAF rule on aggravating circumstances was not applied and the world governing body proposed the application of the standard two-year sanction, which the athletes accepted

Meanwhile, following the re-testing of samples from the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Bulgaria’s Inna Eftimova tested positive for synthetic growth hormone, while the samples of Tobias and fellow Ukrainian Antonina Yefremova both contained traces of synthetic testosterone. Again the IAAF initially sought a four-year ban in all three cases but the trio ultimately received two-year suspensions as they each acknowledged doping offences and waived their right to a B sample analysis hearing.

Meanwhile Moroccan 1500m runner Mariem Alaoui Selsouli has also failed drug tests and will be barred from the athletics showpiece.

Selsouli, 28, who won silver at the World Indoor Championships this year, tested positive for a banned diuretic in a sample taken in Paris on July 6. She had been banned for doping once before and now faces a lifetime ban.

“The prohibited substance furosemide was found,” read an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) statement.

Prior to Barbados’ contingent departing for the London Games the local National Anti-Doping Commission revealed that all the athletes had returned negative drug tests. (WG)

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