2012 Olympic women’s steeple­chase champ Zapirova fails dop­ing retest

Team CEEREF ready for the fi­nal flight in Malta

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The RC44 Val­letta Cup, be­ing staged be­tween to­mor­row and Sun­day, is set to be one of the clos­est fought fi­nals in the RC44’s ten-year his­tory. With only seven points sep­a­rat­ing the top seven teams and with each boat ca­pa­ble of mak­ing it onto the podium it will be a case of who can mas­ter the Mis­tral rac­ing against the back­drop of the city’s mag­nif­i­cent fortress.

Hav­ing qui­etly risen to promi­nence through­out the year, Team CEEREF go into the RC44 Cham­pi­onship Tour grand fi­nal next week in pole po­si­tion, with a slim two-point lead over five-time RC44 Cham­pi­ons Team Aqua.

Not feel­ing the pres­sure Slove­nian owner Igor Lah ex­plained: “I am not su­per­sti­tious so I do not be­lieve past re­sults can pre­dict fu­ture ones. Ob­vi­ously, ev­ery­one is try­ing re­ally hard and putting a lot of ef­fort to be as good as pos­si­ble.

“As the class has ma­tured ev­ery­one’s knowl­edge of how to op­ti­mise the boats per­for­mance has grown, so it’s go­ing to be tough, but I’m also very com­pet­i­tive so it re­ally pushes me on.”

But, when the rac­ing is so close luck also plays its part, last month at the RC44 Cas­cais Cup the Slove­nian team had the ti­tle in their sights un­til dis­as­ter struck and their spin­naker grace­fully di­vided in two split­ting across its cen­tre from luff to leech. This caused them to drop from third to sev­enth and to lose the RC44 Cas­cais Cup by a mere point to Tor­b­jorn Torn­qvist’s Swedish boat Artemis Rac­ing.

Hav­ing clinched the crown in the fi­nal me­tres of the fi­nal race, Torn­qvist’s ex­pe­ri­enced crew are ex­pected to do well in Malta as, the much like the Por­tuguese race­course, the con­di­tions will be not so much about the shifts as han­dling the sea state and keep­ing the boat un­der con­trol.

It has been a tur­bu­lent year for the 2015 de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Team Nika but the onus is now on them to show the will of a cham­pion and bounce back. A dis­ap­point­ing eighth at the World Cham­pi­onship in So­togrande has seen the team fight back all sea­son go­ing into the fi­nal in fourth place tied on 12 points with fifth placed Penin­sula Pe­tro­leum.

Of the re­main­ing chal­lengers to the podium Bro­nenosec Sail­ing Team hold 13 points in sixth place fol­lowed by Ka­tusha on 14 points in sev­enth. Yu­lia Zaripova, the Rus­sian gold medal­ist in the women’s 3,000-me­ter steeple­chase at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics, was among 12 more ath­letes sanc­tioned yes­ter­day af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive in a re­anal­y­sis of their dop­ing sam­ples.

Zaripova was among seven medal­ists - all from coun­tries of the for­mer Soviet Union - dis­qual­i­fied retroac­tively from the Lon­don Games af­ter their stored sam­ples were retested with im­proved tech­niques and came back pos­i­tive for banned sub­stances.

Also sanc­tioned yes­ter­day by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee were nine weightlifters, a ham­mer thrower and a long jumper.

Zaripova tested pos­i­tive for the steroid turin­abol on a urine sam­ple she pro­vided af­ter win­ning the steeple­chase fi­nal on 6 Au­gust, 2012, the IOC said.

Zaripova was al­ready ex­pected to lose the gold medal over a sep­a­rate dop­ing vi­o­la­tion pros­e­cuted by the IAAF. She had pre­vi­ously served a 2½-year ban for ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in her bi­o­log­i­cal pass­port. As a re­sult of that vi­o­la­tion, the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport had dis­qual­i­fied all of her re­sults from July 2011 to July 2013, in­clud­ing the Lon­don Olympics.

A three-per­son IOC dis­ci­plinary com­mis­sion said in its rul­ing that a de­ci­sion in Zaripova’s case “has al­ready been is­sued and has be­come fi­nal and bind­ing” and “there is no longer any in­ter­est to con­tinue the present pro­ceed­ings and to is­sue a de­ci­sion.”

The panel rec­om­mended that the IOC im­ple­ment the IAAF de­ci­sion to amend the Olympic re­sults and strip Zaripova of the gold medal. Un­der the re­vised re­sults, Habiba Ghribi of Tu­nisia takes the gold, with Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia moving to sil­ver and Milcah Che­mos Cheywa of Kenya the bronze.

Other ath­letes stripped of Lon­don medals yes­ter­day were: Alexan­der Ivanov, Rus­sia, sil­ver, men’s 94kilo­gram weightlifting di­vi­sion; Natliya Zabolot­naya, Rus­sia, sil­ver, women’s 75kg weightlifting; Cristina Iovu, Moldova, bronze, women’s 53kg weightlifting; Hrip­sime Khur­shudyan, Ar­me­nia, bronze, women’s 75kg weightlifting; Irina Kule­sha, Be­larus, bronze, women’s 75kg weightlifting; and Ana­toli Cir­icu, Moldova, bronze, men’s 94kg weightlifting.

The non-medal­ists were An­drei De­manov, Rus­sia, fourth place, men’s 94kg weightlifting; Olek­sandr Dry­hol, Ukraine, 34th place, men’s ham­mer throw; Rauli Tsirekidze, Ge­or­gia, ninth place, 85kg weightlifting; Mar­garyta Tver­dokhlib, Ukraine, 26th place, women’s long jump; and Al­mas Uteshov, Kaza­khstan, sev­enth place, men’s 94kg weightlifting.

The IOC re­anal­ysed more than 1,000 stored sam­ples from the Lon­don Games and 2008 Bei­jing Games in order to catch cheats who es­caped de­tec­tion at the time. The new tests can de­tect the use of steroids go­ing back weeks and months, rather than days.

The IOC recorded at least 98 pos­i­tive tests from the Lon­don and Bei­jing retest­ing pro­gram, with more ex­pected in the pipe­line. The IOC also plans to retest sam­ples from the 2014 Sochi Win­ter Games af­ter the for­mer Rus­sian lab di­rec­tor said sam­ples were ma­nip­u­lated to cover up dop­ing by Rus­sian ath­letes.

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