Liliya Shobukhova life ban stays for marathon series despite WADA ruling

Liliya Shobukhova will still be excluded for life from all the world`s major marathons despite a reduction in her doping ban from WADA on Monday.

AFP| Updated: Aug 25, 2015, 09:20 AM IST

Paris: Liliya Shobukhova will still be excluded for life from all the world`s major marathons despite a reduction in her doping ban from WADA on Monday.

The 37-year-old Russian saw her ban cut because of help she provided in the battle against drugs, but she will also face a lawsuit brought by the London Marathon organisers to reimburse her prize money for winning the 2010 edition and finishing runner-up a year later.

She also won the Chicago Marathon on three occasions from 2009-11 but had all those results erased after being banned for three years and two months by the sport`s governing body, the IAAF.

The ban, running from January 24 2013 to March 23 2016, was based on abnormalities in the haematological profile of her biological passport, which indicates a high probability of blood doping.

However, on Monday the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it had reduced her suspension by seven months because of her unspecified help in the battle against the use of drugs in sport -- aid she had offered in May 2014.

"The information and documentation provided by Ms. Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel," WADA said in a statement.

"WADA considered the information provided by Ms. Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport."

The IAAF -- whose showpiece event the World Athletics Championships is currently taking place in Beijing -- issued a statement taking note of WADA`s decision but added that like the anti-doping body it could not comment on a specific case although it added that athletes could be useful allies in combating cheating in the sport.

However, WADA`s decision cut little ice with the London Marathon organisers.

"The London Marathon notes 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," said Nick Bitel in a statement issued on Monday.

"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.

"The London Marathon has already announced that it 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. 

"We 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.

"We are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping

"This means that cheats should not be permitted to keep their ill-gotten gains under any circumstances."