Dope cheat must repay race earnings

Liliya Shobukhova on her way to second place in the 2011 London Marathon. The recently retired runner was in 2013 banned for life from taking part in all the six big city marathons.
Liliya Shobukhova on her way to second place in the 2011 London Marathon. The recently retired runner was in 2013 banned for life from taking part in all the six big city marathons.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • The Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, who blew the whistle on corruption between senior figures in the IAAF and Russian athletics after being banned for doping offences, has been ordered to pay back £377,961.62 (S$676,483) plus costs to organisers of the London Marathon.

That figure represents her total prize and appearance money for the 2010 and 2011 editions.

All of Shobukhova's results since Oct 9, 2009 were annulled in 2013 because of abnormalities in her biological passport.

That included her marathon best of 2hr 18min 20sec, the second-fastest time in history set while winning her third Chicago marathon in 2011, as well as her first and second places in London in 2010 and 2011.

Under the rules of the World Marathon Majors race series - which comprises the big city marathons in Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago, New York and Berlin as well as the World Championships and Olympics - any athlete found guilty of a doping offence is required to repay all prize and appearance money.

In Shobukhova's case, the High Court in London has ruled that she must pay back that substantial figure.

  • £378,000

    Prize winnings Liliya Shobukhova has been ordered to return to the London Marathon organisers.

Nick Bitel, the chief executive of London Marathon Events, said that it would now try to have the judgment enforced in Russia.

"It will be a long and difficult process but we will pursue it as we are determined that cheats should not benefit," he said. "Any money we get back will be redistributed to the athletes that Shobukhova cheated out of their rightful dues."

The 38-year-old, who recently announced her retirement, was in 2013 banned for life from taking part in the London Marathon and in any of the five other marathons that make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

The following year, she went to the International Association of Athletics Federations' ethics committee with information that senior athletics officials had extorted €450,000 (S$672,300) from her in exchange for covering up her doping violations.

Several of the figures she implicated - including Papa Massata Diack, the son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack; Valentin Balakhnichev, a former president of the All-Russia Athletics Federation and treasurer of the IAAF; and the senior Russian endurance coach Alexei Melnikov - were all given life bans from the sport this year by the IAAF.

Balakhnichev and Massata Diack have both denied any wrongdoing.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Dope cheat must repay race earnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe