DOPING IN SPORT

Spanish athlete Marta Domínguez stripped of world gold for doping

Court of Arbitration for Sport also hands three-year ban to track star-turned-PP politician

Marta Domínguez competes in the 3,000m steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012.
Marta Domínguez competes in the 3,000m steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012.REUTERS

Spanish former athlete Marta Domínguez has been handed a three-year ban and stripped of her 2009 World Championship gold medal after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found her guilty of doping.

The decision by the Lausanne-based court, which was made public on Thursday, closes a case begun in March 2013 after irregularities were detected in Domínguez’s biological passport.

As well as the ban and the loss of the 3,000m steeplechase title she won in Berlin, at the request of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the 40-year-old has also been stripped of the European Championship silver medal she won in Barcelona in 2010.

On Monday Domínguez suddenly disappeared from the list of PP general election candidates for Madrid

Once considered the best Spanish female athlete in history, Domínguez retired from high-level competition in 2012, and has been devoting her time to politics ever since.

In November 2011 she was elected a senator for her home province of Palencia, representing the center-right Popular Party (PP).

Despite the doping case hanging over her, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy recently decided to include her in 19th place on the Madrid list of PP candidates for Congress at the upcoming December 20 general election.

But on Monday Domínguez suddenly disappeared from the list just before it was due to be sent to the Madrid Electoral Board. The former athlete had warned the party about the imminent release of the sentence and of the convenience of her disappearing from the scene.

This is the third doping case to which Domínguez has been linked following the Operation Puerto and Operation Greyhound scandals. She ended up facing no charges in the former, while the latter was ultimately shelved.

More information

The latest case began in March 2013 when the IAAF informed Domínguez and the Spanish athletics federation that it had found suspicious blood values in her biological passport dating back to August 2009.

As neither the athlete nor the federation offered any convincing explanation for the irregularities, the IAAF decided to open disciplinary proceedings against her for doping that July, calling for a four-year ban and a provisional suspension.

After Domínguez attributed the values to subclinical hypothyroidism, the Spanish federation acquitted her in 2014. But the IAAF appealed the decision to the CAS, which – owing to her defense’s attempts to question the tribunal’s jurisdiction and contest the chosen arbitrators – was unable to organize a hearing until June 24 of this year.

English version by Nick Funnell.

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