Turkish medalist Abeylegesse withdraws from competitions after doping claims
AFP PhotoTurkish 10,000-meter runner Elvan Abeylegesse has said she has withdrawn from competitions until doping claims, which might strip her of her Olympics and world championships silver medals, have concluded after testing positive for steroids in a reanalysis of her doping samples.
“I never used such a substance and never even thought about it,” Abeylegesse said in a statement on Aug. 13. “I am experiencing deep disillusionment and sadness.”
The Turkish Athletics Federation has said Abeylegesse was among the 28 athletes whose doping samples came back positive in retroactive testing from the 2005 and 2007 world championships.
The federation said the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has asked the 32-year-old Ethiopian-born Abeylegesse to submit her defense concerning test samples from 2007, when she won silver in the 10,000 in Osaka, Japan.
The IAAF announced Aug. 11 that 28 athletes had been caught in retests of their samples from the 2005 and 2007 worlds. The IAAF said it had provisionally suspended the athletes, who were not identified.
Turkish newspaper Radikal said Abeylegesse’s sample tested positive for the steroid stanozolol.
She said she was also asking the IAAF to retest samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won silver in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
If doping violations are confirmed, the medals will be reallocated as necessary, the IAAF said.
If Abeylegesse is stripped of the 2007 silver, U.S. runner Kara Goucher would stand to be bumped up from bronze to silver.
If Abeylegesse loses the Beijing Olympic medals, Shalane Flanagan of the U.S. could be promoted to silver in the 10,000, and Ethiopia’s Meseret Defat moved up to silver in the 5,000.
Zaman newspaper said the Turkish federation dropped Abeylegesse from the national team. It said she can ask for her backup “B’’ sample to be tested but would be banned for two years if it also comes back positive.