Olympic champion Cakir faces life ban after doping charge

Reuters, LONDON

Sun, May 05, 2013 - Page 19

Turkey’s Asli Cakir Alptekin, who came back from a doping ban to win the women’s 1,500m 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 ahead of compatriot Gamze Bulut at the London Games.

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

Another Turkish athlete, double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit, also faces a ban after “multiple positive findings in both in-competition and out-of-competition tests,” the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said in a statement.

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.

Ugur Erdener, president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, said in a statement: “We fully support all authorities in this ongoing investigation. Doping is a major global issue: Turkey is ready to fulfil its responsibilities in helping to eradicate it from world sport.”

“The Turkish Olympic Committee will continue to intensify our own efforts to root out cheats in Turkish sport. Any athlete found to have cheated will be punished to the full extent of Turkey’s comprehensive and rigorously enforced anti-doping legislation,” Erdener said.

Cakir’s ban will hardly raise eyebrows in the world of athletics, despite her denying the use of performance-enhancing drugs after her London success.

Shortly after the 1,500m final, Briton 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,” she said.

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

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