Drugs Are A ‘Huge Problem’ In Athletics

Scotland’s athlete of the year, Lynsey Sharp, has remarked that drugs are a “huge problem” in athletics after she was upgraded to European 800m gold following a doping scandal. Sharp is now 2012 European champion after Russian Yelena Arzhakova received a two-year doping ban.

Arshakova was banned following an abnormal hemoglobin profile in her biological passport. She came first even though Sharp ran a personal best in Helsinki in June but finished 2.01 seconds behind winner Arzhakova.

The 22-year-old Sharp said doping is a huge problem and there are a lot of people being caught, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of people getting away with it. Sharp said if you spoke to any athlete, they would say there’s a lot of people who get away with it and probably don’t get caught and she is trying to see the positives, but at the same time you’re thinking ‘what’s the point in this?’ if this sort of thing happens. Lynsey Sharp was however happy to now call herself European champion and said she was honestly happy that she was been upgraded, but at the same time disappointed that another athlete in the sport and her event has been done. Sharp also expressed her disappointment that she wasn’t able to do a lap of honour and stand on the podium and have the national anthem playing and be European champion from that day.

Nigel Holl, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, on the possible gold of Sharp, said we are delighted she will now be recognized as a European champion and added it is another boost for Lynsey’s career and a reward for last summer when she won the UK Champs, did so well a few days later in Finland and represented Team GB and NI at the London 2012 Olympics. Holl also remarked you always feel more than a little sorry for athletes in these circumstances, because the very nature of testing afterwards and retrospective bans means they are denied that wonderful and deserved moment of glory standing on top of the podium and said we would love to be involved in any formal presentation to Lynsey of a gold medal by European Athletics and make that as grand and as fitting an occasion as possible.

Scottish Athletics could host a medal ceremony for Sharp, possibly at their annual awards dinner in the autumn if Arzhakova choose not to challenge her suspension or fails with an appeal.

In another development, the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) has handed a suspension of ten years to Olympic discus silver medalist Darya Pishchalnikova after she failed a drugs test for the second time. A sample taken from the 27-year-old in May was re-tested and proved positive for the anabolic steroid Oxandrolone, the VFLA said on its website, after which the VFLA annulled all of Pishchalnikova’s results from 20 May 2012, meaning she is set to lose her London Olympic medal. The Olympic discus silver medalist had already served a doping ban from July 2008 to April 2011.

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