Russian race walker given four-year ban for doping

Sweden's Eritrean-born Meraf Bahta, European 5,000m champion in 2014, has been served a backdated one-year ban after failing to properly disclose her location for doping tests.

MOSCOW — Russian race walker Maria Ponomareva has been handed a four-year suspension for doping, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The AIU, which oversees integrity issues in athletics, including doping, posted documents from the Court Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that said the ban was based on the fact Ponomareva had abnormalities in her biological passport.

The CAS documents said Ponomareva had used doping for "a period of more than two years." Her four-year suspension comes into force as of March 8, 2018, and her results between July 2015 and March 2018 are voided, the CAS documents said.

Russia's athletics federation has been suspended since a 2015 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of state-sponsored doping in the sport.

The sport's global governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), earlier this month decided not to lift Russia's suspension.

Despite the ban, the IAAF has authorized some Russians, including 2015 world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, to compete as neutrals after having demonstrated they are competing in a doping-free environment.

Sweden's Bahta gets one-year

backdated ban after missing tests


Sweden's Eritrean-born Meraf Bahta, European 5,000m champion in 2014, has been served a backdated one-year ban after failing to properly disclose her location for doping tests, the Swedish athletics federation announced Monday.

The ban was backdated between Sept. 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2019, meaning Bahta will be able to run, if selected, at the world championships in Doha which start on Sept. 28.

Federation head Stefan Olsson said Bahta had not been found guilty of doping, but had been victim of an administrative mistake that saw her fail to give her whereabouts for tests three times within 12 months last season.

Bahta, who moved to Sweden in 2008, represented Eritrea at world cross-country championships and All-Africa Games before switching allegiance and going on to also win European 5,000m silver in 2016 and 10,000m bronze in 2018 for her adopted country. — Agencies