Russia's Savinova loses London gold for doping
10 Feb 2017 - 22:05
Lausanne: The international sports tribunal yesterday stripped Russian runner Mariya Savinova-Farnosova (pictured) of the London Olympics 800 metres gold medal and banned her until 2019 for doping.
The latest blow to Russia's sporting image should give South African Caster Semenya the 2012 Olympic title to add to the one she claimed in Rio last year.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said there was "clear evidence" that Savinova was involved in doping from before the European Championship in Barcelona in 2010 until the 2013 world championships in Moscow -- including for the 2012 London Games and the 2011 world championships in Daegu.
Her coach, Vladimir Kazarin, told TASS news agency that Savinova was "emotionally depressed" and would probably not appeal. Savinova, now 31, has not raced since 2013 and was one of five Russian athletes named in a World Anti-Doping Agency report which called for a life-time ban against her.
She was also seen in a 2014 German television documentary on Russia's doping, apparently admitting to taking banned substances.
Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova secretly filmed Savinova appearing to admit taking the banned steroid oxandrolone. The German documentary led to the WADA inquiry and to the International Association of Athletics Federations suspending Russia from international competition.
In the film, Savinova said she had no choice but to take banned drugs.
"That is our system and in Russia that only works with pharma (doping)," she said on the recording.
She also said her husband, Russian 1,500m runner Aleksey Farsonov, had "very good contacts to the doping control laboratory" in Moscow.
WADA has since said the Moscow laboratory played a central role in Russia's "state-sponsored" doping. It's former director has also become a whistleblower and said hundreds of failed doping tests were covered up.
A four-year ban against Savinova was backdated to start on August 24, 2015. CAS said all prizes won between July 26, 2010 and August 19, 2013, are forfeited.
That will include the Olympic and world titles a silver medal from the Moscow world championships and a gold medal from the 2010 European championships.
Kazarin, who has been suspended over his involvement in doping, said: "Naturally, we're emotionally depressed. All these (investigations) continued for more than two years and we're all tired of it.
"I think now it's useless to go to the civil court. If CAS decided (to ban Savinova) nothing can be done," he told Russia's Tass news agency.
The IAAF said it would no comment on the case as Savinova still has 45 days to decide whether to make an appeal.
South Africa's running sensation Semenya was second at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 Olympics and stands to get more honours if the golds are reallocated.
Another Russian finalist from the 2012 final, Yelena Arzhakova, has already been banned and Ekaterina Poistogova, who took the bronze medal, is under investigation for doping.
The CAS acted as the main tribunal in the case as the Russian athletics federation is suspended by the world body because of the doping controversy. Russia has denied any official involvement in the scandal. The IAAF has said Russia will not be allowed to compete at the world championships in London this year because there are still major problems in its anti-doping system.