Ruskies Nabbed Doping, Stripped of Gold Medals

By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved (used with permission)

(03-Jul) -- In a stunning development, three Russian athletes, two of whom had won European Championships
gold medals in 2010 and 2011, were banned today by their federation for doping. Incredibly, one was stripped
 of a gold medal handed to her when yet another athlete who had finished ahead of her had been previously
disqualified for doping.

The athletes, middle distance runners Yevgeniya Zinurova and Svetlana Klyuka, and marathoner Nailya Yulamanova
, were convicted of doping through the use of the biological passport program which, according to the World
Anti-Doping Agency, "is based on the monitoring of selected biological variables which indirectly reveal the
effects of doping." As such, athletes do not have to be caught with banned substances in their systems, but
rather can be convicted based on variations in blood and other values which can only be explained by doping.

Zinurova, 29, had won the 2011 European Indoor Championships 800m title in Paris, but was stripped of that
title because her results will be deleted back to March 6, 2010. That elevates Britain's Jenny Meadows to
the gold medal position, Russia's Yulia Rusanova to silver, and France's Linda Marguet to bronze. Zinurova
will be banned through Sept. 13, 2013.

Yulamanova, 31, had originally finished second at the European Championships marathon in Barcelona in 2010,
but was elevated to the gold medal position after Lithuania's Zivile Balciunaite was later disqualified for
doping. Russian officials said that Yulmanova's results have been deleted back through August 20, 2009, thus
 stripping her of that medal. Italy's Anna Incerti now becomes the gold medalist, Ukraine's Tetyana Filonyuk
 now has the silver, and Sweden's Isabellah Andersson the bronze. Yulamanova, who is banned through February
 10, 2014, also loses her eighth place finish at the 2009 IAAF World Championships marathon, her 9th place
finish at the 2010 Boston Marathon, her victory at the 2010 Shanghai Marathon, and her fifth place finish at
 the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon.

Klyuka, 33, who finished fourth in the Beijing Olympics at 800m and has a career best time of 1:56.64, has
had her results deleted back through August 15, 2009, and is banned for two years through February 10, 2014.
 According to the Tilastopaja Oy statistics website, her preliminary and semi-final performances at the 2009
IAAF World Championships will be stricken, as will her second place finish at the 2010 Russian championships
and eighth place finish at the 2010 European Championships.

Athletes, like marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, have been calling for more extensive testing,
including the use of the biological passport, for years. Radcliffe often ran with a red ribbon pinned to her
 uniform to signify her support for blood testing.

"It is great that the blood passport scheme is starting to have effect and that hopefully there are more to
come," said Radcliffe in an e-mail message sent to Race Results Weekly. "The minority of cheating athletes
will realise that the methods of detection and the deterrents will continue to improve in our efforts to clean
 up the sport we love."

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