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Thursday 25, Dec 2008

  2008 most controversial doping cases

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steroidsThis year is Olympic year so it’s more interesting than the previous years as far as doping is concerned.

Remember the canny seven Russian track and field athletes who resorted to urine swapping to pass drug tests?

The International Association of the Athletics Federation officials became suspicious when said women athletes were always present for unannounced random tests. The Russians were also very punctual, arriving at testing places even before the IAAF officials got there.

“There were no ‘no shows’,” one official told Reuters. “The Russians were always there.”

So the officials started storing the athletes’ samples. Further investigation revealed that the latest urine samples provided by the athletes did not match the DNA of the stored samples. The Russians were later suspended. The athletes include Tatyana Tomashova, the two-time world 1,500 meters champion; and Yelena Soboleva, the world indoor 1,500 meters champion.

And who wouldn’t remember the Greek athletes who figured prominently in this year’s doping list because of quite a handful of failed dope tests.

In March, eleven of the 14 members of the Greek weightlifting team tested positive for the steroid methyltrienolone in out-of-competition testing in Athens. Then there was champion hurdler Fani Halkia, sprinter Dimitris Regas, and Anastasios Gousis who got banned for testing positive also for methyltrienolone. All Greek athletes were suspended for doping.

In Tour de France four riders, including the third finisher Bernhard Kohl, were suspended for testing positive for CERA, the new generation variant of the blood-boosting drug EPO

There was Marion Jones’ sprint in and out of jail for her use of performance-enhancing drugs and her involvement in a check fraud case. Jones began her six-month jail term March and was released September 5.

The NFL’s diuretic case also was in the news which involved several athletes who blamed the StarCaps weight-loss pill for their failed dope tests. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Vikings were among the players who tested positive for the masking agent bumetanide.

The Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds anabolic steroids cases also dominated the sports scene in 2008 and are expected to remain in the headlines in 2009. The much-awaited Barry Bonds trial will commence March next year

Monday 04, Aug 2008

  Punctuality sometimes not a good thing in steroids and PEDs testing

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russia_flagTop female Russian athletes are facing a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in the track ahead – a possible ban from their sport of athletics.

This arises when they were suspected of attempting to manipulate drug results. And one of the tell-tale signs, according to a report, is their showing up promptly during out-of-competition tests. The athletes reportedly were there even before the testers from the IAAF arrived. And this aroused suspicions from IAAF, the governing body for athletics worldwide.

According to BBC Sports, “athletes are not normally immediately available” for such testing. Because of their “unfailing punctuality”, the seven athletes were targeted for more than a year after the testers became suspicious.

Subsequently, they were charged for “fraudulent substitution of urine which is both a prohibited method and also a form of tampering with the doping control process”, according to a statement from IAAF.

Two of the seven suspects are track superstars Yelena Soboleva and Tatyana Tomashova.

Soboleva currently holds the 1500 m-indoor world record. She was supposed to participate in both the 800 m and 1500 m events at the Beijing Olympics. Tomashova, meanwhile, is a double world champion in the 1500 m and has garnered a silver medal in this event in the 2004 Olympics.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Now, because of doping irregularities, their chance of getting another shot at the Olympic glory is dashed.

More from BBC Sports:

Seven Russian athletes provisionally suspended for doping offences were tipped off ahead of visits from the testers, BBC Sport understands.

The International Association of Athletics Federations grew suspicious because the athletes were always available when the testers arrived.

“…the Russians were always waiting,” said BBC Sport’s Gordon Farquhar.

Five of the seven – Yelena Soboleva, Tatyana Tomashova, Yulia Fomenko, Darya Pishchalnikova and Gulfiya Khanafeyeva – were bound for the Beijing Olympics but they will now not compete at the Games.

The other two athletes are Svetlana Cherkasova and Olga Yegorova.

And Farquahar added: “IAAF sources say they began investigating the seven suspended athletes when testers expressed surprise at their unfailing punctuality.

“The athletes have an hour to show up at the specified location and give a sample, but the Russian athletes were always ready.

“The IAAF sources also say the Russian Federation knew of the problem more than two weeks ago, and they’re confident the suspected tip-offs haven’t come from within their own organisation.”

The athletes have up to 14 days to request a hearing with the national member federation.
If a hearing is requested, it must be held within a period of two months but the ARAF has said that they will not take place until after the Olympics.