July 3, 2012 / 12:48 PM / 8 years ago

Top female Russian trio banned for doping

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Three leading female Russian athletes, including European marathon champion Nailya Yulamanova, have been banned for two years for doping.

Svetlana Klyuka, second in the 800 metres at the 2006 European championships, and 2011 European 800 indoor winner Yevgenia Zinurova, were also suspended for “abnormal indexes in their biometric passports”, the country’s athletics federation said on its website (www.rusathletics.com) on Tuesday.

Yulamanova finished second in the marathon at the 2010 European championships in Barcelona but was upgraded to the gold medal after the winner, Lithuania’s Zivile Balciunaite, was disqualified and banned for using steroids.

The suspensions involving 31-year-old Yulamanova and Klyuka, 33, have been backdated to February. The ban for Zinurova, 29, began in September.

As all three are ineligible to compete at this week’s Russian championships, they will not race at the London Olympics that start on July 27.

“This is the first time athletes have been suspended in Russia because of abnormality of their biometric passports,” athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichyov told local media.

“We know such practice has been widely used in cycling but unfortunately it’s now been the case with our athletes as well. It’s a huge loss for our team but their guilt has been proven beyond doubt.”

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