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Disgraced Turkish middle-distance athlete Asli Cakir Alptekein returned to competition four years after her original eight-year drugs ban started.
The drug cheat was permitted to compete in the European Club Cross Country Championships on Sunday February 5th. She finished in 11th place in the time of 21:24, one-minute and six seconds off the lead, which is pretty rich for a rusty, middle-distance athlete. The 31-year-old is a 1500-metre specialist.
The 10 athletes that finished ahead of her compete in distances from the 3,000-metre steeplechase to the marathon. Her performance, although not suspicious, was strong – she did not appear to suffer for her time away.
She won the gold medal during the 2012 London Olympic Games 1500m final. The race and the semi-final before it have proven to be two of the dirtiest races in athletics history with over half of the field testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. She was stripped of her medal.
She claimed that in 2012, she had been told by the son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, she could keep her Olympic gold medal if she paid them a bribe of €650,000 (£490,000/$700,000).
Both Diacks have been accused of extortion and bribery. Like father, like son.
Alptekein tested positive for Stanazolol, the same drug that Ben Johnson was caught for during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
In August 2013, 31 Turkish athletes were suspended for testing positive for anabolic steroids. At the time, Athletics Illustrated suggested that Turkey, like Russia, should be banned from competition due to potential systematic doping.
It was her second such offense.
In July of 2016 she appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have her eight year ban reduced to four.
The positive drug tests that implicated 31 Turkish athletes was due to the International Association of Athletics Federation’s out-of-competition testing in that country, all from the sport of athletics.
The positive tests found athletes were using primarily two anabolic steroids, Stanozolol and Turinabol. At the time, it was an inconvenient bust as Istanbul was romancing the International Olympic Committee in the hopes that their bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games would turn in their favour on September 7th 2013; they lost, thankfully.
Currently the sport continues to lose, as disgraced athletes like Asli Cakir Alptekein are permitted to compete. She should be banned for life.
Results and news about the European Club Cross Country Championships can be found, here>>