Positive Drug Tests Leave Turkish Athletes In Limbo, Jeopardizes Countries' 2020 Olympic Bid
Turkey is "at risk of being thrown out of next month's World Championships in Moscow after 'dozens' of its athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs" in a series of recent anti-doping raids last month, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. As part of a target-testing operation carried out by the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations, "large numbers of Turkish athletes were drug-tested both in and out of competition in the run-up to the Mediterranean Games," which were held in Mersin, Turkey June 20-30. The results of the anti-doping operation "have yet to be made public but the number of positive cases is said to run into dozens." A senior athletics source said, "We’re talking about a lot of athletes. It could be as many as 30." It is understood that the athletes have all failed tests on their ''A'' urine samples, and are now "waiting for the test results" from their ''B'' samples. Only then "will the cases be publicly revealed, though a formal announcement is expected within days." If the adverse findings are confirmed -- and it is very rare for a ''B'' sample to contradict the result of the ''A'' -- then it would "represent one of the biggest ever doping exposes in athletics within a single country" (TELEGRAPH, 7/9).
OLYMPIC DAMAGE? In London, Rick Broadbent reported Turkey’s hopes of staging the 2020 Olympics "could be wrecked by the latest drugs sting to have left the country’s sporting reputation tattered and torn on the doping-room floor." Although Turkey "will not be thrown out" of next month’s World Athletics Championships, the Istanbul campaign "could be fatally weakened." If an inquiry is taking place while doping bans are being issued, Istanbul officials "will face some awkward questions." The vote will take place just weeks after the end of a World Championships already "blighted by the shadow of drugs" (LONDON TIMES, 7/10).