IAAF approves return to four-year doping bans
Athletics will end 18 years of frustration in 2015 by returning to four-year bans for first-time dopers, ending the situation of Olympic athletes suspended for doping turning up to compete in the following Games.india Updated: Aug 09, 2013 00:59 IST
Athletics will end 18 years of frustration in 2015 by returning to four-year bans for first-time dopers, ending the situation of Olympic athletes suspended for doping turning up to compete in the following Games.
Having been forced to cut its ban from four to two years in 1997 to bring it in line with other leading sports and get worldwide governments on board, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been under increasing pressure to restore the stiffer penalty in the wake of a slew of high-profile doping cases.
On Thursday, two days before the start of the world championships in Moscow, it announced there would be a return to four-year bans.
"The new WADA (world anti-doping agency) Code, which will come into force on January 1, 2015, will reflect our firm commitment to have tougher penalties and the IAAF will return to four year sanctions for serious doping offences," the IAAF said in a statement following the second day of its Congress.
Athletics has recently been again hard-hit by a string of doping cases, ranging from high-profile athletes such as American Tyson Gay and Jamaican trio Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson to multiple positive tests in Turkey.
Some of the Turkish athletes were as young as 17 and the controversies have led to calls for federations to be punished for failing to control the situation.
Rocked by the latest developments, IAAF officials have continued to stress that they lead the way in the fight against doping and that the mass of positive tests are merely evidence of its efficiency.
"The IAAF's collection of the blood samples of nearly 2000 athletes in Daegu (in the 2011 world championships), as part of our commitment to the Athlete Biological Passport, was an historic achievement across all sports, and continues in Moscow," said officials, who added that the testing programme in Moscow would be the most comprehensive in the event's 30-year history.
Earlier on Thursday the Turkish National Olympic Committee issued a statement saying the country was committed to the fight against doping, despite more than 40 athletes being suspended in recent weeks.
"Turkey's aggressive fight against doping in sport, which we have intensified significantly since the start of 2013, will continue and accelerate regardless of the International Olympic Committee's decision on the host city of the 2020 Games on 7 September 2013," Turkish Olympic Committee president Ugur Erdener said in a statement on Istanbul's bid.
Call for country ban
On Wednesday Paula Radcliffe, Britain's marathon world record holder and member of the IAAF athletes' council, said some Turkish coaches were guilty of effective child abuse for giving teenage athletes illegal substances.
"Some of those athletes are 16 or 17," she said. "This is steroids and I think there needs to be some sort of sanction imposed on that country and something done about protecting the young athletes in that country because I don't believe there's a whole lot of choice.
"Sometimes they are being abused in the same way as physical abuse or sexual abuse if they are being forced to engage in drug abuse. The entourage should be subject to sanctions, too."