Russian London Marathon Winner Must Repay Prize After Doping

  • Shobukhova must return 378,000 pounds for 2010, 2011 races
  • Runner banned by international athletics body for cheating

Liliya Shobukhova, who won the 2010 London Marathon and was runner-up the following year, was ordered to return 378,000 pounds ($499,000) in prize money to race organizers, nearly a year after the Russian was banned for doping by the athletic’s international governing body.

London Marathon Events Ltd. won a British High Court judgment and will now pursue the case in Russian courts, it said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. Shobukhova, 38, also won the Chicago marathon three times. She is banned for life from the London race and five other major marathons, and got a reduced 2 1/2-year track-and-field ban from anti-doping authorities after cooperating with their investigation.

“The next step is to get the judgment enforced in Russia,” said Nick Bitel, chief executive officer of the London Marathon organizer. “It will be a long and difficult process, but we will pursue it as we are determined that cheats should not benefit. Any money we get back will be redistributed to the athletes that Shobukhova cheated out of their rightful dues.”

The London court “made the decision without my participation,” Shobukhova said in e-mail message to Bloomberg via the Russian VKontakte social media service. “I didn’t receive all of this money. They deducted taxes and all commissions.”

The court decision comes as a damning report into Russia’s sports program prompted the World Anti-Doping Agency to call for a near total ban on the country’s athletes from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Systematic drug cheating by Russian competitors meant its track and field athletes were already banned from the Rio games, which start Aug. 5.

Doping Inquiry

The independent report by Richard McLaren, which was commissioned by WADA, concluded that the Russian Sports Ministry oversaw a vast program to manipulate doping test results from 2011 to 2015, aided by the Federal Security Service, Russia’s main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

The International Olympic Committee is setting up a commission to explore a collective ban on Russian athletes at the Rio games and won’t accredit any officials from the Russian Sports Ministry to attend the Olympics, the IOC said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. It also plans a full inquiry into all Russian athletes who participated in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and will “impose all appropriate sanctions.”

While there’s no place for doping, “we are seeing a dangerous return to politics interfering with sport” as an “instrument to apply geopolitical pressure,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday in response to the McLaren report.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the RIA Novosti news service Monday that he’s suspended his deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, who was identified in the report as running the doping program.

WADA suggested banning all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian Paralympic Committee from the games in Brazil, limiting participation to Russian nationals who compete under a neutral flag and “in accordance with very strict criteria,” according to a statement on its website.

McLaren said Monday during a press conference in Toronto that his investigation found that athletes’ positive urine samples were swapped out during the Sochi Olympics. His report didn’t make any recommendation on how to punish Russia for the doping program.

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