Monday 21 October 2019

Derval O'Rourke could be awarded European bronze after Turk charged with doping

Derval O’Rourke finishes just one hundreth of a second outside of the medals at the European Indoor championships but could now claim bronze
Derval O’Rourke finishes just one hundreth of a second outside of the medals at the European Indoor championships but could now claim bronze

Derval O'Rourke could be awarded European indoor bronze after gold medallist Nevin Yanit was charged with doping violations today.

The Leevale athlete finished in an agonising fourth place in the final of the 60m hurdles in Gothenburg in March but if Yanit is convicted, O'Rourke will be upgraded to the bronze position.

Nevin Yanit faces a ban after "multiple positive findings in both in-competition and out-of-competiton tests," the International Association of Athletics Federations said.

Fellow Turkish athlete Asli Cakir Alptekin, who came back from a doping ban to win the women's 1,500 metres under a cloud of suspicion at the 2012 Olympics, faces a lifetime ban after being charged with another anti-doping offence, athletics officials said on Friday.

Cakir, who was given a two-year ban in 2004 after a positive dope test at the world junior championships, finished at the London Games ahead of compatriot Gamze Bulut, who had improved her personal best by 18 seconds in the previous year.

Cakir was charged on the basis of abnormal blood values from her biological passport.

Both athletes have been charged with anti-doping rule violations by the IAAF and are provisionally suspended. Their cases have been referred to the Turkish federation for adjudication and Cakir faces an automatic life ban for a second doping offence.

The burly Cakir's ban will hardly raise eyebrows in the world of athletics, despite her denying the use of performance-enhancing drugs when grilled immediately after her London success.

Shortly after the 1,500 final, Briton's Lisa Dobriskey, who finished 10th, voiced her frustration.

"I'll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don't believe I'm competing on a level playing field," she said.

"I think the blood passport is catching people but I think these Games came too soon. People will be caught eventually, I think. Fingers crossed anyway."

It was just that system that eventually did catch the 27-year-old Cakir, nine years after she was exposed as a teenage doper.

Biological passports work by creating individual blood profiles for each athlete, rather than testing for specific, performance-enhancing drugs.

If an athlete's blood readings then deviate markedly from previous measures they can face a doping charge.

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