Diamond League should ban dopers like we do-marathon boss

Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:07pm EST
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Any athlete convicted of a serious doping offense should be banned from the Diamond League, following the “zero tolerance” approach of the London Marathon, the race’s chief executive told Reuters on Friday.

City marathons have, like the rest of athletics, been hit hard by doping in recent years.

Russian Liliya Shobukhova, who won the London race in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011, has since been banned for doping and turned whistle-blower to help expose the extent of the problem in her country.

Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, a three times Boston marathon winner who was in line to scoop $500,000 as the world marathon majors' overall champion in 2014, has also been banned after testing positive.

The London Marathon does not allow any athlete convicted of a serious doping offense to take part in the race and, although life bans are not applicable across the sport, the race's organizers said others should follow their lead.

"You can’t ban them (drug cheats) for life under WADA rules but where you have a choice, then make a positive choice to support clean athletes," London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel said in an interview at the race launch on Friday.

"I think that where you have an invitational event, like the London Marathon, other big city marathons, or the Diamond League, then you can make a stand.

“Organizers should be asking themselves, ‘Why do I want to have a drugs cheat, sometimes repeatedly, in my event?’   Continued...

Liliya Shobukhova of Russia crosses the finish line to win the women's London marathon in London April 25, 2010.   REUTERS/Andrew Winning