Olympic hopeful Turkey told to ‘clean its house’ as nine more athletes banned

Olympic hopeful Turkey told to ‘clean its house’ as nine more athletes banned

Olympic hopeful Turkey told to ‘clean its house’ as nine more athletes banned

Turkish Athletics Federation chairman Mehmet Terzi (2nd L) greets IAAF President Lamine Diack (R) in this file photo taken in Dakar, Senegal. Diack urges the Turkish officials to ‘clean their house’ as the country is bidding for the 2020 Games. DHA photo

Nine Turkish track and field athletes have been banned for two years each after testing positive for anabolic steroid as Turkey continues to feel the pressure with the Olympic voting looming.

World atletics’ governing body (IAAF) said July 31 that six of the athletes are women, including two teenagers.

Six cases involved field athletes testing positive for stanozolol at Turkey’s national university championships held in May at Bursa. Stanozolol is the steroid used by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Among those six, three athletes also tested positive for oral turinabol, the steroid used in state-sponsored East German doping programs in the 1970s and 1980s.

The IAAF said 17-year-old discus thrower Burcu Akmazoğlu tested positive for both banned drugs. She is suspended from competing through June 13, 2015.

A second teenager, 18-year-old hammer thrower Elif Akbaş, also tested positive for stanozolol at the student event.

An IAAF list of sanctioned athletes shows that stanozolol and oral turinabol were both found in samples taken at Bursa from Kübra Danış, a 22-year-old shot putter, and Gökçe Çelenk, a 25-year-old discus thrower. Javelin throwers Şarık Bilgin, who is 25, and 21-year-old Gülsüm Özdemir Güneş also tested positive for stanozolol.

The IAAF said the other cases involve two field athletes and one runner testing positive for stanozolol, methandienone and oxandrolone, respectively.

Ali Ekber Kayas, a 26-year-old 400-meter runner who competed at the 2012 world indoor championships in Istanbul, gave a sample with oxandrolone at a national competition in May 2012. He is suspended through July 2, 2014.

Shot putter Nilgün Öztürk tested positive for methandienone at the same competition, and received the same ban as Kayas.

The IAAF said 21-year-old javelin thrower Berkay Tolun tested positive for stanozolol during training in May. His ban expires on June 6, 2015.

The cases are likely to harm Istanbul’s Olympic bid, where it is running against Tokyo and Madrid to host the 2020 Games.

Earlier this week, IAAF President Lamine Diack has warned that Turkey should step up its efforts against doping.

“They cannot bid for the Olympics if they cannot control their athletes,” Diack, is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told the insidethebiz website. “I’m not saying we get rid of the Federation but they need to clean their house.”

More than 30 Turkish athletes have failed drugs tests in the past year, including last year’s Olympic 1500-meter champion Aslı Çakır Alptekin and two-time defending European champion 100-meter hurdler Nevin Yanıt, and Diack has told senior Government officials that the situation is seriously jeopardising their bid.

“It’s not the Olympic Committee or the [athletics] Federation who must solve the problem - it’s the Government,” said Diack. “I have already talked to them [the Government].

“They asked me, as an IOC member, what my advice would be. I said, ‘Look, there is an important issue - it is that you have to finish with doping.’ I told them that if they are going to win the bid I think you need to take care of this big issue. They are bidding for the 2020 Olympics but every few days we have three or four athletes caught for doping.”

Since the start of the year more than 30 Turkish athletes, including weightlifters and track and field athletes were tested positive for doping.

The 2020 Olympic Games host will be announced on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires.

An additional report from AP was used in this story.