Turkish Athletes Suspended For Doping Violations; Could Threaten Istanbul 2020 Bid
Thirty-one Turkish track and field athletes "have been suspended for two years each for doping violations," according to the AP. The Turkish Athletics Federation announced the sanctions Monday, including that of 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist hammer thrower Esref Apak. His case "had been announced in June." The bans follow five days after the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations confirmed that nine Turkish athletes, including two teenagers, "got two-year bans for using anabolic steroids." It "could get worse for the sport in Turkey" when TAF completes investigations into alleged doping by 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Asli Cakir Alptekin and two other female team members in London last year. Turkey's doping problems "threaten to affect Istanbul's campaign against 2020 Olympic bid rivals Madrid and Tokyo." IOC members "will choose a winner on Sept. 7." Still, Turkish Olympic Committee President Ugur Erdener, an IOC member, said Monday's sanctions were "a clear signal" of how seriously it is responding. Erdener: "This work is part of a concerted, and much more aggressive, anti-doping policy in Turkey that has been in place for over six months" (AP, 8/5).