Russian Bespalova banned four years for doping
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian hammer thrower Maria Bespalova, 29, who competed at the London Olympics in 2012 and won the gold medal in the 2008 European Cup, has been banned for four years for doping offences.
The punishment was handed out by the Russian Athletics Federation (VFLA) after it received documents from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the VFLA said in a statement on Thursday.
Four other Russian athletes have also been punished for doping offences.
Vlas Bredikhin, a middle-distance runner, and Yaroslav Kholopov, who competes over 400 meters, were given four-year suspensions.
Maria Konovalova, a double Russian 5,000 meters champion, was handed a two-year ban while Evgeny Nushtaev, a 50km and 10km walker, will not be able to compete for six months.
On Wednesday, former IAAF president Lamine Diack was placed under formal investigation in France on suspicion of corruption and money laundering following a complaint from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
According to French news channel iTELE, the investigation is focused on suspicions that payments were made in return for not revealing widespread doping of Russian athletes.
Problems involving doping in Russian athletics began to surface in December 2014 following a three-part documentary broadcast by the German television channel ZDF/ARD.
(Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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