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  • Team Russia Loses Five Olympic Athletes, Counts Seven Doping Violations


    Yelena Soboleva won the 1500m silver at the IAAF worlds in Osaka in 2007. (Getty Images)
     (ATR) Seven top Russian athletes, five qualified for the Beijing Games, are barred from competition for tampering with doping control processes.

    Indoor 1500m world record holder Yelena Soboleva is among those charged by the IAAF with a fraudulent substitution of urine during a drug test. Facing the same charges are discus thrower Darya Pishchalnikova, hammer thrower Gulfiya Khanafeyeva and middle distance runners Svetlana Cherkasova, Yulia Fomenko, Tatyana Tomashova, and Olga Yegorova.

    All save Cherkasova and Yegorova appear on the Russian Olympic Committee's online roster for the Beijing Games. A total of 62 women are on the original list.

    "These rule violations were established following the deliberate storage of samples by the IAAF and
    Gulfiya Khanafeyeva failed a drug test at the World Military Games in 2007, but the result was later thrown out. (Getty Images)
    re-analysis using comparative DNA techniques, and were the result of a specific investigation which was instigated and carried out by the IAAF for more than a year," reads a statement from the IAAF. The federation declines further comment pending adjucation by the All Russia Athletics Federation, the country's national governing body.

    "This IAAF decision dashes our athletes' hopes to perform at Beijing," ARAF president Valentin Balakhnichev is quoted in media reports, adding that the five women were all medal contenders.

    Another media report quotes Balakhnichev confirming that all are banned from the Games. The IAAF ban is technically only a
    Tatyana Tomashova won 1500m silver at the 2004 Games. (Getty Images)
    provisional ban until the ARAF adjucation.
    Under IAAF rules, the athletes have fourteen days to request a hearing from their national governing body, and the NGB has two months to hold the hearing.

    Written by Maggie Lee
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