Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova received a two year ban from the Russian Athletics Federation for blood doping. "Abnormal hematological curves" were detected in Shobukhova’s biological passport, which indicated changes in her blood chemistry over time. Changes in hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cell counts can be signs of illegal drug effects even though no drugs are detected in the athlete’s system.
The ban will be backdated to January 24 2013, but will also annul all results since October 9 2009. This includes wins at the Chicago Marathon in 2009, 2010, and 2011; first place in the London Marathon in 2010 and second place in 2011; and the World Marathon Majors (WMM) crown for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
Nick Bitel, General Counsel of WMM said, “WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races. Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught.” Unless the ban is overturned on appeal, Shobukhova will have to repay prize and appearance money from the Chicago and London races, as well as $1 million from the WMM wins.
At least one of Shobukhova’s competitors does not seem surprised. Paula Radcliffe tweeted on April 29 that “Lilya Shobukhova finally exposed as a drug cheat.” Radcliffe also said the World Marathon Majors should take actions to show cheating is not acceptable and that winnings should be returned and the rightful winners recognized.
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