Russia’s Savinova stripped of 800m gold at London Olympics

Mariya Savinova-Farnosova was found to have used performance enhancing drugs by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which imposed a four-year ban on her and declared invalid her 800m London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal.


Mariya Savinova celebrates her women's 800m win at the London Olympics.   -  AFP

Russia's Mariya Savinova-Farnosova has been stripped of her 800m London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday imposed a four-year ban saying there was “clear evidence” she used performance-enhancing drugs. She is the latest in a growing list of Russian athletes to have past Olympic medals taken away over doping, as the nation struggles to overcome its most widespread doping scandal ever.

The retroactive four-year penalty starts from August 24, 2015, but CAS also disqualified all Savinova's results from July 26, 2010, to August 19, 2013, thereby stripping her of her 2011 world championships gold, 2013 world silver and 2010 European gold. South Africa's double silver medallist Caster Semenya is now in line to be promoted to gold in both the 2012 Olympics and 2011 world championships. The 31-year-old former 800-metre world and Olympic champion was among the athletes that a commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended be banned for life in 2015.

“On the basis of clear evidence, including the evidence derived from her biological passport, Mariya Savinova-Farnosova is found to have been engaged in using doping from 26 July, 2010 through to 19 August, 2013,” CAS said.

It took the action as the decision-making authority while Russia's athletics federation remains banned over the country's state-backed doping scandal. Almost the entire track-and-field team of Russia was banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics. More than 100 athletes have so far tested positive in re-tests of samples taken during the London and Beijing 2008 Olympics conducted by the International Olympic Committee. Russia has the most positive re-tests per nation.

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