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Archive for  February 2015

Saturday 07, Feb 2015

Radcliffe Angry At Doping Accusations

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Paula Radcliffe, the current women’s world record holder in the marathon, has disclosed that authorities must fight to protect clean athletes and the integrity of athletics.

Paula remarked that the doping epidemic has casted a shadow over athletics that have prompted many to believe that she took drugs during her career. She remarked people regularly questioned the legitimacy of her 2 hours and 15 minute 25 seconds marathon world record and added she knows it is a proud achievement but it does make you angry and it does make you think we have to put a system in place that protects those athletes. Paula Radcliffe added it is hard to her to understand how other people who have cheated can stand there and look their competitors and family in the eye.

Recently, Liliya Shobukhova, the only woman to have run within three minutes of the 12-year-old record of Radcliffe, was banned for two years after abnormalities in her biological passport. Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, the fifth fastest marathon runner of all time, received a doping ban of two years from the sport after she tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood-boosting banned drug.

Last November, the world of athletics was rocked by claims made in a German documentary Top Secret: How Russia Makes Its Winners that 99 per cent of Russian athletes use banned substances as part of a state-sponsored doping regime.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) recently banned Olympic steeplechase champion Yulia Zaripova for doping. RUSADA also banned Russian heptathlete Tatiana Chernova for two years. London Olympic 50 kilometer walk champion Sergei Kirdyapkin was banned along with Olga Kaniskina and Valery Borchin, who won the women’s and men’s 20 kilometer respectively in Beijing 2008, were also in the banned list as were the 2011 world champion in the 50 kilometer walk, Sergei Bakulin, and Vladimir Kanaikin, silver medalist at the 2011 world championships.

Radcliffe remarked there will be some Russians athletes who are not cheating, there are a lot of Kenyan athletes out there who are not cheating, and they are all being lumped together. She also said it spoils it so we have to do something to protect that and protect the sport. Radcliffe has been a fierce advocate of harsh punishments for athletes who are caught doping and she stirred controversy at the 2001 World Championships by holding up a sign reading “EPO Cheats Out” after a rival failed a test for the drug. Radcliffe remarked she is considering taking on a formal anti-doping role and added if you are going to have strong views about something you might as well get involved in actually doing something proactively to back it up.

Paula Radcliffe was appointed recently by Great Run, the world’s favorite Run series with 17 runs in the UK and abroad, as its women’s running ambassador. Radcliffe, speaking to launch a scheme to encourage people to take up running at the Great Manchester Run, said running is always going to be a huge part of her life and she just wants to try and get as many women and children as possible involved. The English long-distance runner said so getting involved, whether it’s with the IAAF or WADA or with this scheme, then great – it’s something she really feels passionate about.

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Thursday 05, Feb 2015

Russian Steeplechaser And Heptathlete Banned, Bans For Skiing Champions

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The Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has announced that steeplechaser Yulia Zaripova has been banned for two and a half years for doping offences.

The 28-year-old was suspended after her biological passport showed abnormalities and her results from June 20 to August 20 2011 and July 3-September 3 2012 have been annulled. Zaripova set a new personal best by winning the gold in the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012.

Zaripova also won gold in the world championships in South Korea in 2011. Her Olympics result has been annulled and she could lose the gold medal though she is allowed to keep her gold of world championships. The suspension imposed on Zaripova was backdated from July 2013 that leaves her eligible to compete in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If she is stripped of the gold medal, it could go to second-placed Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia.

RUSADA also announced that heptathlete Tatyana Chernova has also been banned for taking illegal substances. Tatyana, the double Olympic bronze medalist, had a sample from the 2009 world championships in Berlin retested in 2013 following a request by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). She tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Oral Turinabol and has been suspended for two years, starting from July 22 2013. Tatyana’s results from August 2009 to August 2011 have been annulled but she is allowed to keep her gold medal at the 2011 world championships.

The Russian anti-doping agency also announced that a ban of three months has been imposed on Yuri Gavrilov, the cross-country skier, after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Gavrilov received the three-month ban backdated to September 23, 2014, by the Russian cross-country skiing federation. The ban imposed on Gavrilov is the third to emerge in the last few days after reigning national junior champion Nikita Mashkin and another skier, Arina Kalinina, received doping bans of two years each for unspecified breaches of anti-doping rules. Nikita, the 20-year-old reigning national junior cross-country skiing champion over 50 kilometers from Russia, and female youth skier Arina Kalinina, were banned for anti-doping violations.

Recently, three Olympic walking champions, Olga Kaniskina, Valery Borchin and Sergei Kirdyapkin, as well as 2011 world champion Sergei Bakulin and silver medalist Vladimir Kanaykin were suspended for doping offences.

Russia has been under clouds of doping suspicion after a German TV documentary revealed recorded statements of athletes including 800-meter gold medal winner Maria Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova who admitted to taking banned substances. Investigations have been opened by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IAAF into the accusations made by the German broadcaster ARD program that alleged Russian athletics bosses oversaw systematic doping and RUSADA officials covered up positive tests.

In a statement, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the doping bans imposed on Chernova and Zaripova proved that the existing system of doping controls was working despite a series of scandals. Mutko said we are of course very upset with our top athletes’ doping violations but added on the other hand it shows that the system of doping control in our country works well. The Sports Minister also remarked we work hard to protect the young generation of honest athletes, to show them that every doping offence will be sooner or later penalized.

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Tuesday 03, Feb 2015

Rita Jeptoo Banned For Two Years

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Athletics Kenya has announced that Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons, has banned for two years after she failed a drugs test.

The 33-year-old marathon runner from Kenya, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon and two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon, tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO). Both her A and B samples tested positive. Erythropoietin is a protein hormone that is produced by the kidney and has the ability to stimulate the production of red blood cells in the body when released into the blood stream. EPO is commonly used by long-distance runners and cyclists to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the body.

Jeptoo, in her defense, said the banned substances may have originated from a drug that she prescribed to take by a local hospital after a minor road accident. The samples of Jeptoo came from an out-of-competition event in Kenya on September 25, a few weeks before the Chicago race.

Jeptoo won the Boston Marathon three times. The Marathon Queen set Boston’s course record in 2014 with a time of 2 hours, 18.57 minutes and she also won the Boston Marathon in 2006 and 2013. Jeptoo coupled her Boston Marathon 2013 and 2014 wins with Chicago Marathon titles in each of those falls.

Jeptoo has been suspended from all forms of competition up until October 29, 2016 that rule her out of the world championships in Beijing this summer and the Rio Olympics the following year. Financial rewards associated with winning the 2013/14 World Marathon Majors have already been rescinded.

According to a statement from Athletics Kenya (AK), Jeptoo will miss out on the Rio Olympics. It was remarked that Athletics Kenya would like to confirm that it has suctioned Jeptoo for two years effective from October 30, 2014 to October 29, 2016 follow the results of sample A and B sample having used the prohibited substance EPO. AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat said, that is the end of this case and we are now looking forward to working with the government’s Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya in partnering to fight doping in our sport.

The coach and agent of Rita Jeptoo will not be sanctioned. With the doping ban, the marathon champion will be be stripped of her titles and earnings in the period under review and will also lose out on the 500,000 U.S. dollars World Marathon Majors series jackpot she won after conquering back-to-back victories at the Boston and Chicago marathons in 2013 and 2014.

Wilfred Bungei, the retired Beijing 2008 Olympics champion, said our runners should not take the short route to success and he hopes this will serve a lesson to those who want to follow in her path to stop using drugs such as EPO which are deliberate since they are injected. Wilson Kipsang, the former world marathon record holder, said it wasn’t good news especially to athletes who have been running at the top with good times and added it is  something government should go deep and intervene to ensure it doesn’t happen again because it doesn’t portray a good image to our country.

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Sunday 01, Feb 2015

South Korean Swimming Star Fails Doping Test

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South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan, a 2008 Olympic champion, has failed a doping test after a local team injected him with Testosterone.

Seoul prosecutors said the hospital had testified it gave the swimmer the shot but did not realize it was against World Anti-Doping Agency regulations. According to media reports, Park had already been questioned by prosecutors and the doctor could face charges of negligence. The swimmer could still face punishment under the strict anti-doping rules even if he was not aware that he had been injected with a banned substance. A lengthy ban could derail Park’s hopes of swimming at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Park became the first South Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal when he conquered the 400mg freestyle. The swimmer is one of the most celebrated athletes in his country. Affectionally known as the “Marine Boy” because of its poster-boy looks and clean-cut image, his popularity has never wavered despite a dip in his performances in the recent years. Park has been the face of endorsements for headache pills, milk, communication equipment, and air conditioners besides being a goodwill ambassador for the Dynamic Korea promotion.

Park’s agency, Team GMP, said the swimmer had repeatedly asked the hospital if there were any illegal substances in the injection but he was assured it was safe. In a statement, Team GMP said Park Tae-hwan as a world-class swimmer for the last 10 years hasn’t taken so much as cold medicine, that’s how careful he’s been due to concerns about doping problems and illegal substances and added Park is more shocked by this result than anyone else.

Park’s management said it would take legal action against the free clinic in Icheon that injected Park after they assured him the substance was legal and added the hospital offered to give Park an injection, and he repeatedly asked if it contained any illegal substances. The management remarked we are trying with our team of legal experts to determine why the particular hospital injected Park with an illegal substance, and we’re preparing to hold it civilly and criminally liable. It was added that the doctor said there would be no problem and yet it turned out the injection contained a banned substance.

The 2008 Olympic 400m freestyle champ Park joined Sun Yang, China’s Olympic star, to fail a doping test. Leading Australian coach Michael Bohl expressed shock at the positive doping test for Park, his former swimmer. Both swimmers were associated with Australian coaches at the time of their failed tests but anti-doping tests took place in their homelands and there is no hint of any untoward activity in Australia. Park quit training under Bohl ending a four-year association after the Asian Games last September and has since started training in the USA under Dave Marsh and alongside US star Ryan Lochte.

Park would now have to attend a hearing with FINA, swimming’s world governing body, on February 27 to answer the doping charge.

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