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7 Russians have bans increased
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Seven Russian athletes, including former 1,500m world champion Tatyana Tomashova, have been banned for two years and nine months each, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Wednesday.

Middle-distance runners Yelena Soboleva, Olga Yegorova, Yelena Fomenko and Svetlana Cherkasova, discus thrower Darya Pishchalnikova and former hammer world record holder Gulfia Khanafeyeva were also banned following an appeal by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF).

CAS said it had amended the starting dates of the original bans and that all would now run from July 31, 2008 to April 30, 2011. It also annulled results obtained by the athletes since April or May 2007.

CAS said the bans related to an investigation begun by the IAAF in March 2007 into the possible manipulation of urine samples collected in an out-of-competition testing in Russia.

The investigation concluded that the seven appeared to have breached IAAF rules because of a fraudulent manipulation of urine samples, CAS said.

The Russian Athletics Federation (RAF) found the athletes guilty in October and suspended them for two years each. The IAAF appealed, requesting that the bans be increased to four years.

"It was unacceptable to the IAAF that these athletes who had committed serious and deliberate breaches of our anti-doping rules would receive an effective ban of approximately 9-10 months and see them eligible to compete again in the summer of 2009," the IAAF said in a statement. "The IAAF is pleased to note that the starting date of the sanctions has been amended and also the length of sanction increased over and above the minimum two years.

"It should provide a strong warning to any athletes who are considering doping that their samples will be stored and may be later re-analysed, meaning they are never safe from the detection of their cheating against their fellow athletes."

Cherkasova, sixth in the 800m at the 2007 Worlds, said she was still undecided if she would come back after her ban expires in April 2011. "Maybe some of us will take a break from the sport to have kids," she said.

(Agencies via China Daily July 24, 2009)

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