Disgraced London Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova is all free to compete again after he doping ban was reduced by seven months in return for offering "substantial assistance" to the World Anti-Doping Agency.
WADA agreed to the use of the Substantial Assistance provisions in the 2015 Code [Article 10.6.1.2; also reflected in Rule 40.7(a)(ii) of Chapter 3 of the IAAF Competition Rules] for Liliya's "substantial assistance".
In a statement, WADA said the information and documentation provided by Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel. It was further added the World Anti-Doping Agency considered the information provided by Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport. The IAAF, reacting to WADA's statement, said athletes could prove to be helpful allies in combating doping in sports.
It remains to be seen if Shobukhova, who was stripped of three marathon victories in Chicago and another in London, provided information for WADA's investigation into allegations of widespread and systematic doping in Russian sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Association of Athletics Federations declined to discuss any details.
According to a statement by WADA, Liliya's ban for a period of 3 years and 2 months was reduced by 7 months. Her sanction ended on August 23, 2015 but she will still be excluded for life from all the world's major marathons. The Russian long-distance runner who competed in marathon races is likely to face a lawsuit brought by the organizers of the London Marathon to reimburse the prize money for winning the 2010 London Marathon and finishing runner-up a year later. Liliya's record of three Chicago Marathon wins from 2009-11 had been erased after she was banned.
Liliya's original ban was to run from January 24, 2013 to March 23, 2016 because of abnormalities in the hematological profile of her biological passport suggesting a high probability of blood doping.
Reacting to WADA statement, London Marathon organizers said they have noted the decision taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency which takes into account Shobukhova's contention that she has given exceptional assistance to those seeking to fight doping in athletics. The organizers added the London Marathon's zero tolerance policy towards doping is unaltered. Shobukhova is still banned for life from taking part in the London Marathon and in any of the five other marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors.
It was also remarked that London Marathon organizers will commence legal proceedings against athletes who have failed tests if they do not repay money that they have received from the event and has already taken steps to do so in the case of Shobukhova. It was also commented that the organizers believe there should be no place in our sport for people who have cheated, no matter how much assistance they give after they have been caught, and that they need to repay all money earned so that clean athletes can benefit. London Marathon Organizers also said they are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping that means that cheats should not be permitted to keep their ill-gotten gains under any circumstances.
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