Athletics: Turkish distance runners to lose Olympic silver medals over doping

Elvan Abeylegesse (left) and Gamze Bulut (right) are to be stripped of their silver medals from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Elvan Abeylegesse (left) and Gamze Bulut (right) are to be stripped of their silver medals from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. PHOTOS: AFP, ACTION IMAGES

LONDON (REUTERS) - Turkish female distance runners Elvan Abeylegesse and Gamze Bulut are set to be stripped of silver medals from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games after being handed bans for doping on Wednesday (March 29).

The sanctions will also mean the re-allocation of medals awarded a decade ago at the 2007 Osaka World Championships.

Both women appeared on Wednesday on the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) latest list of doping violations and sanctions.

Ethiopian-born Abeylegesse was disqualified of her results from Aug 26, 2007, to Aug 25, 2009, after a re-test of a 2007 sample showed up positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.

That means she will lose the 5,000m and 10,000m silver medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 10,000m silver from the 2007 World Championships.

Britain's Jo Pavey will now get the 2007 bronze medal and Kara Goucher of the United States will be upgraded to silver.

"I am thrilled with the news but it is kind of bittersweet," Pavey told the BBC of what will be her first world medal.

"I had a few years in the prime of my career where I kept just missing out on medals and I almost had to go back to the drawing board and think how I could find that extra.

"Now I look back and I think about the other medals I might have had, and actually I was doing a lot of things right but with the cheats out there it does make it so much more difficult and so frustrating," she said.

Bulut, a 1,500m silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, was handed a four-year ban for a violation of the athletes' biological passport rules.

That race has been described by some as the 'dirtiest race in history' with six of the top nine, including the gold and silver medallists, handed bans before or since.

Bahrain's Ethiopian-born Maryam Yusuf Jamal, third originally, now stands to inherit the gold.