Liliya Bulatovna Shobukhova, the Russian long-distance runner who competed in marathon races, has finally received a reprieve from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Shobukhova, who was stripped of three Chicago and one London Marathon titles, had her ban reduced by seven months for providing “substantial assistance” to WADA. The 37-year-old Russian athlete was banned for a period of three years and two months after abnormalities were found in her athlete biological passport. She was initially banned for a period of two years but her ban was extended to run from January 24, 2013 to March 23, 2016 after the world governing body of athletics appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Her ban is now reduced after the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed to the cut in the sanction and the athlete is now eligible to compete again.

A WADA statement said it has agreed to a seven-month reduction in the athlete’s sanction that brings the total length of the athlete’s ineligibility period to two years and seven months, which ended on 23 August 2015. The anti-doping agency remarked reduction in the ban was due to substantial assistance that Shobukhova provided in line with the provisions of the world anti-doping code. The statement also reads that Liliya Shobukhova approached WADA in May 2014 to offer substantial assistance within the meaning of the code and it was also disclosed that the athlete accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation.

It was also remarked the information and documentation provided by Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel and WADA considered the information provided by Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport. Therefore, WADA decided to exercise its authority and use the Substantial Assistance provisions in the 2015 Code [Article; also reflected in Rule 40.7(a) (ii) of Chapter 3 of the IAAF Competition Rules].

In 2001, Liliya Shobukhova started her career in middle-distance running and grabbed headlines when she reached the final at both the European Indoor Championships and European Athletics Championships in 2002. Her first big success moment came at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2006 European Athletics Championships where she won silver medals. In 2007, she won the Prague Half Marathon and reached final of 5000 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shobukhova is the present European record holder in the 3000 meters and 5000 meters and a former world indoor record in the 3000 meters.

Her personal best of 2:18:20, set to win the Chicago Marathon in 2011, will be struck and the Russian athlete would no longer be considered the second fastest woman in history behind world record holder Paula Radcliffe. After a ban was imposed by the Russian federation, the World Marathon Majors announced it will amend the standings for WMM Series IV and WMM Series V and confirm a woman’s series winner. This meant that Irina Mikitenko of Germany will replace Liliya Shobukhova as the 2009-2010 series champion and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya will get the 2010-2011 title.

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