Darya Pishchalnikova Facing Lifetime Ban

A London Olympic silver medalist in the discus, Darya Pishchalnikova, faces a lifetime ban after being caught doping for a second time. The discus thrower also faces the possibility of losing her Olympic medal.

The 2011 world discus champion was being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency after a recent test revealed she was positive for anabolic steroids, said Nikita Kamayev, executive director of Russia’s Ani-doping Agency.

Kamayev said an athlete who commits a second offense may face from eight years to a life ban and her Olympic medal depends on when her suspension would start if she was found guilty this time.

The discus thrower, in the meanwhile, has professed her innocence and made a request for the analysis of her B sample and there is a slim chance that it may clear her. Pishchalnikova has had a controversial career that included close to a suspension of three years from July 2008 to April 2011 for manipulating samples before the 2008 Games when six other athletes from Russia were also involved in the tampering.

All the athletes were charged under IAAF Rules 32.2 (b) and 32.2 (e) for a fraudulent substitution of urine that is both a prohibited method and also a form of tampering with the doping control process and these rule violations were established after the deliberate storage of samples by the IAAF and re-analysis using comparative DNA techniques. The involved athletes were Svetlana Cherkasova – 800m, Yulia Fomenko – 1500m, Gulfiya Khanafeyeva – Hammer Throw, Darya Pishchalnikova  – Discus Throw, Yelena Soboleva – 800m / 1500m, Tatyana Tomashova – 1500m, And Olga Yegorova  – 1500m / 5000m.

Investigation of the 27-year-old discus thrower is expected to be completed by the end of November, said Valentin Balakhnichev, president of the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) and made it clear that VFLA is “committed in the fight against doping”.

The female discus thrower from Russia won the silver medal in the discus at the 2001 World Youth Championships in Athletics and then repeated the feat at the World Junior Championships in 2004 to establish herself as one of the top women’s throwers at the 2006 European Athletics Championships to win the gold medal with a personal best throw of 65.55 meters. Pishchalnikova won the silver medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka with a personal best throw of 65.78 meters and was thereafter selected to represent Russia at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. But she was suspended over doping test irregularities and received a two-year doping ban for manipulating drug samples.

After her return from ban, Pishchalnikova finished eleventh at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011 and took the second place in the 2012 European Cup Winter Throwing with a personal best throw of 67.00 m in Adler. The Russian was runner-up to Sandra Perković at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting and bagged the first prize in the Russian Championships with a throw of 70.69 m – the best performance in the event since 1992.

Meanwhile, VFLA banned Ingna Abitova, former European 10,000 meters champion, for abnormal hemoglobin profile in her biological passport.

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