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Monday 26, Aug 2013

  Drug Testing Stepped Up In Turkey

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Drug Testing Stepped Up In Turkey

The governing body of Track and field has stepped up its drug-testing program in Turkey after many positive drug tests emerged. The International Association of Athletics Federations said it “intensified” its testing in the country after cases that may damage the bid of Istanbul for the 2020 Olympics.

The IAAF remarked the surge in testing measures was due to abnormal blood-profile results that have already resulted in high profile doping cases against some of the top athletes of the country. In a statement, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies the IAAF is aware of media speculation surrounding the recent anti-doping control tests, in and out of competition, of a number of Turkish athletes and the IAAF with the national anti-doping agency intensified the testing program in Turkey following concerns highlighted by abnormal biological passport values.

This statement was issued after Britain’s Daily Telegraph published a report on its website that a large number of athletes from the country tested positive before the Mediterranean Games in the Turkish city of Mersin. The newspaper revealed that the count of positive drug tests may run into dozens and its report disclosed failed tests on their “A” samples and were awaiting the results of the backup “B” samples. Under rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations, a doping case is announced only after a “B” sample confirms the initial positive finding. The results “remain on-going in accordance with IAAF rules,” Davies said and added the world governing body cannot make any further comment until the proceedings are completed.

Turkey’s national Olympic committee, following the report, said it is taking this matter very seriously and urgently reviewing all alleged and any confirmed doping cases involving Turkish athletes. It was further maintained by the Turkish federation that the country has a “zero-tolerance policy” on doping and added any athletes found guilty of using banned substances will be punished to the full extent of Turkey’s comprehensive anti-doping legislation, other laws, and in accordance with international anti-doping practices.

In the past few months, Turkey has been hit with anti-government demonstrations in the country, the police crackdown on protesters, and many doping cases that have dealt a serious blow to the image of the country that is competing against Madrid and Tokyo for hosting the Olympics in 2020. The IOC will select the host city for the Olympics on September 7.

A few weeks back, eight Turkish track and field athletes, including 2004 Olympic hammer silver medalist Esref Apak, and eight weightlifters from Turkey tested positive for doping. In May this year, two-time European 100-meter hurdles champion Nevin Yanit and Olympic 1,500-meter champion Asli Cakir Alptekin were charged with doping violations. This was after Yanit had “multiple positive findings” and Alptekin had abnormal blood values in her biological profile, according to the IAAF. The Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) recently gave suspensions of two years to 31 athletes for drug violations. The list of those suspended included hammer thrower Esref Apak, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist. On its website, the federation said the files of Asli Cakir Alptekin, Nevin Yanit, and Pinar Saka were not assessed because the process of investigation following their defense statements is continuing.

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Wednesday 15, May 2013

  London Olympic Champion Faces Life Ban

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London Olympic Champion Faces Life Ban

Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey, who returned from a drugs ban to win the women’s 1500m under a cloud of suspicion at the 2012 London Olympics, faces a lifetime ban after she was being charged with another offence.

The Turkish athlete, who was given a ban of two years in 2004 after a positive drugs test at the world junior championships, has been charged on the basis of abnormal blood values from her biological passport. At the 2012 Olympic Games, she beat her compatriot Gamze Bulut to give Turkey its first-ever athletics gold medal. Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain was third and Tatyana Tomashova of Russia fourth behind Alptekin at the 2012 London Olympics.

The doping scandal comes as Istanbul is bidding for the 2020 Olympics, competing against Tokyo and Madrid.

In another development, the International Association of Athletics Federations has announced that another Turkish athlete, the double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit, also faces a ban after multiple positive findings in both in-competition and out-of-competition tests. A two-time European champion in the outdoor 100m hurdles, Yanit, won the 60m hurdles gold at the European indoors in Goteborg, Sweden, in March in 7.89s. Alina Talay of Belarus was second, followed by Veronica Borsi of Italy and Derval O’Rourke of Ireland. Yanit finished fifth in the London Olympics 100m hurdles final.

Both Yanit and Alptekin have been charged with anti-doping rule violations by the IAAF and have been suspended and the case of these athletes have been referred to the Turkish federation for adjudication and Cakir faces an automatic life ban for a second doping offence.

The president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, Ugur Erdener, said we fully support all authorities in this ongoing investigation. Erdener also said the IOC can be totally assured” of the country’s adherence to World Anti-Doping Agency rules. Erdener added that doping is a major global issue and Turkey is ready to fulfill its responsibilities in helping to eradicate it from world sport. The Turkish Olympic Committee president also added that the TOC will continue to intensify our own efforts to root out cheats in Turkish sport and any athlete found to have cheated will be punished to the full extent of Turkey’s comprehensive and rigorously enforced anti-doping legislation.

The ban on Cakir will hardly raise eyebrows in athletics, despite her denying the use of performance enhancing drugs when she was questioned immediately after her London success. British middle-distance runner Lisa Dobriskey, who finished 10th in the women’s 1,500m final behind Alptekin who served a two-year suspension for doping after the 2004 junior world championships, voiced concern that she was not competing on a level playing field. She also added at that time that I’ll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don’t believe I’m competing on a level playing field and also remarked that she thinks the blood passport is catching people but she think these Games came too soon. Dobriskey also remarked that people will be caught eventually and she would be keeping her fingers crossed anyway.

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