April 3, 2013
Hurdler Yelena Churakova tests positive for steroids
London Olympics 400m hurdler Yelena Churakova has been banned for two years after testing positive for steroids, the All-Russian Athletics Federation said. Churakova, who was eliminated from the Games in the semi-final heats, was found to have taken the anabolic steroid metandienone and testosterone in out-of-competition testing, a website statement said. “The athlete is disqualified for two years from February 28, 2013,” the federation said Tuesday. The 26-year-old`s sample was taken at a training camp in Portugal January 26, the statement said. She is the latest in a long line of Russians to have been caught taking banned substances in a scandal that is causing serious embarrassment to the Russian government.
Last month, swimmer Natalya Lovtsova, who competed in London with the Russian 4×100-metre freestyle relay team, received a 2.5-year ban for unspecified doping violations.
That came days after two other Russian swimmers from the London Olympics, Ksenia Moskvina and Ekaterina Andreeva, were banned by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
Three other members of Russia`s London 2012 contingent have also fallen foul of doping controls.
Discus silver medallist Darya Pishchalnikova remains under temporary suspension following a positive doping test, as does hammer thrower Kirill Ikonnikov.
Track cyclist Victoria Baranova was expelled during the Games for having taken testosterone.
The flurry of doping violations prompted the head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation to say in February that a major investigation could be launched.
Valentin Balakhnichev cited as an example a recent wide-ranging probe by the Australian Crime Commission, which found evidence of doping in multiple sports.
Balakhnichev suggested he would like to see cycling-style biological passports brought in for all athletes. He said that around 3,600 doping tests were carried out in Russia every year, a sharp rise on previous years.