Ivanova Banned Two Years

Story written by EPelle

BBC Athletics announced today that Russian steeplechaser Lyubov Ivanova was handed a two-year drug suspension by her athletics federation for failing a test administered during the IAAF World Athletics Final (WAF) held in Stuttgart, Germany in September.

Ivanova, ranked fourth in the world in her event, finished fourth at the European Championships here in Göteborg in August, running 9.33,53.

The IAAF stated on Tuesday, 2006-November-14, that an unnamed athlete had failed a drugs test at the WAF final, with a planned announcement due shortly thereafter. Ivanova's name was announced on a message board 10 days later as having been the athlete in question.

Ivanova's ban took effect on Friday, 2006-December-22.

Seven Russians have committed doping offenses in 2006 according to the latest available statistics published by the IAAF. A total of 23 Russian athletes failed drugs tests in 2005 according to Rotislav Orlov, Russian Athletics Federation's spokesperson.

Ivanova competed in 10 races in 2006, opening her season with a 9.26,54 victory at the Russian Athletics Championships - her first race in 11 months. Her fastest time of the season - which was also a personal best - was a 9.21,94 clocking at the Tsiklitiria meeting in Athens, where she placed 2nd behind Poland's Violetta Janowska, who also set a personal best (9.17,15).

Ivanova's personal best ranks as the 17th-fastest time ever recorded, and she is the 6th-fastest athlete ever in the event. Janowska is ranked seventh and fourth, respectively.

Russia's Gulnara Samitova set the world record of 9.01,59 in 2004.

Ivanova was a dark horse this season, having run no faster than 9.00,90 over 3.000m (a mark she achieved in 2005 indoors with a fifth place finish at her national championships).

She recorded a 9.27,57 indoor world best steeple in the 2005 Russian Indoor Championships in Volgograd - winning by just under eight seconds over teammate Marina Ivanova two days before her open 3.000m final. The indoor barriers are not standard, nor is there a water jump.

Ivanova's best steeple last season was a 9.46,63 recorded at the 2005 SPAR European Cup in Florence, Italy - a silver medal performance which helped Russia win the overall title.

Her lifetime best prior to this year was a 9.28,02 2nd-place finish in Rieti, one of four times she ran the distance in 2004.

Ivanova does not have 800m/1.500m speed, having recorded 2.11,37 (2005)/4.14,87 (2006).

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