Loss puts Pep under spotlight
fans alike can carry on with confidence believing that progress is being made in tackling doping in our sport.”
The Sunday Times highlights the case of the women’s 1500m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, when four Russian athletes finished in the top five. All four would later serve doping bans but the result still stands in the IAAF record books. Britain’s Helen Clitheroe competed in the race, finishing 10th, a result which affected her funding and forced her to race at other distances.
“I didn’t think there was any cheating going on,” said Clitheroe. “After that race I just thought, I’m not as good as them.
“It is disappointing because perhaps I was as good as them after all. But that race is something I can never change.”
In 2011, Briton Jenny Meadows finished second in the 800m to Yevgeniya Zinurova in the European Indoor Championships, only to be upgraded to gold the following year when the Russian was banned for two years for doping. Meadows has said she has been cheated out of at least three medals.
“When I’m training I go down to the track and almost kill myself on a daily basis. It’s not pleasant,” she told the Sunday Times. MUNICH — Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola ( pictured) remains stoically noncommittal over his future with the German champions, despite his deal having just one more season to run.
The Catalan continued to stonewall polite enquiries about his plans ahead of German football’s curtain-raiser as Bayern suffered their third consecutive Super Cup defeat under Guardiola, this time going down 5-4 to Wolfsburg in a dramatic penalty shootout.
“I haven’t yet decided what is best for this club -- and I want to do my best for this club. I haven’t made a decision yet,” he insisted.
The coach continued: “Listen, I will never become a problem for Bayern Munich. When I have the feeling that I’m becoming a burden to the club, another coach will come in. Perhaps they aren’t willing to wait for me any longer, OK, it’s not a problem. I will never become a problem for FC Bayern.”
On the eve of the new season, as speculation continues to grow, that’s hardly a declaration of undying love and affection from Pep to his paymasters.
In reality, chairman of the board Karl-heinz Rummenigge is probably already coming to terms with life after Pep. While still
“It makes you not want to get up in the morning and work so hard,” says Meadows
“I’m trying to get the most out of my body in a natural way. You really have to have a high pain threshold.
“People who are blood-doping don’t have to go through that the same way. It’s a shortcut. That is really demoralising. It makes you not want to get up in the morning and work so hard.
“You want to know every time you stand on that line you are competing on a level playing field. You don’t want to think that someone hasn’t gone through those gruelling sessions and are just out to rob you of your result.”
The leaked database has been reviewed by anti-doping experts Robin Parisotto and Michael Ashenden who say Russia emerges as “the blood testing epicentre of the world” with more than 80 percent of the country’s medals won by suspicious athletes.
But Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko described the findings as a “blow” to the IAAF rather than his country.
“Russian athletes are checked for doping as much as athletes from other countries,” Mutko said.
“And, considering that we are leaders in many kinds of sports, insisting that every effort will be made to renew Guardiola’s contract, KHR has recently changed tack, stating that “the world wouldn’t end,” if the 44-year-old coach didn’t extend his stay in Bavaria beyond next summer.
However, until Guardiola lays his cards on the table, the rumours will continue to gather pace. England has long been mooted as his favoured destination, with the Manchester clubs seemingly heading the running.
City would appear to be the front-runners with current boss Manuel Pellegrini under pressure following last season’s disappointing campaign.
The deposed champions of England are said to be desperate to land Guardiola, and a bumper payday is in the offing. But don’t rule out fallen giants Manchester United when the time comes to replace former Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. Where does this leave Bayern Munich as Pep refuses to commit himself to the club? While Bayern will remain unstoppable in the Bundesliga and almost certainly claim an unprecedented fourth title in a row, the Holy Grail remains the Champions League. Success in Europe is pivotal for both Bayern and Guardiola.
Certainly, some added bite was needed in the engine room after two consecutive semifinal defeats at the hands of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. The signing of Arturo Vidal to bolster midfield was a signal to the rest of Europe that Bayern want to take the next step in the Champions League.
Let’s consider the effect of the announcement in 2013 that Jupp Heynckes would step aside for Guardiola. That revelation gave the players clarity, removed any uncertainty and potential alibis for poor performances, giving a reinvigorated squad added impetus and focus. It was drastically needed in 2012 after Bayern finished second to Borussia Dortmund and lost the Champions League to Chelsea on home soil.
Bayern ended up with a historic treble in 2013, cruising imperiously to the Bundesliga title by 25 points and winning the Champions League at Wembley against rivals Dortmund.
All in all, it represented the perfect departing gift for the much-respected Heynckes -- and plenty to live up to for Pep.
Regardless of whether he is staying or going, such a statement from Guardiola can give Bayern a similar shot in the arm. Clarity as to Pep’s future can free him and his side up as they aim to make it third time lucky in the big one -- the Champions League.
The Catalan needs to put an end to the speculation and provide some clarity in coming weeks, or it could prove a damaging elephant in the room. KUALA LUMPUR — Underpressure Fifa leader Sepp Blatter ( pictured) on Monday gave up his International Olympic Committee seat because he will soon end his reign in charge of world football.
Blatter, whose organisation is embroiled in a corruption scandal, was among a group of eight IOC members who should have sought re-election on Monday at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. He has said he will stand down as Fifa president on February 26 when an election for a new leader will be held.
IOC president Thomas Bach said that Blatter “does not deem it to be appropriate to stand for reelection for eight years knowing that after seven months his term would come to an end”.
Bach thanked Blatter and other members leaving the IOC for their “great contribution” to the Olympic movement. Blatter, who has been an IOC member since 1999, did not attend the Kuala Lumpur meeting.
The Fifa president was part of an IOC commission that decided on reforms of the Olympic organisation after it was hit by a bribery scandal over the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002. — AFP