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Chemos welcomes Dominguez title-stripping

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Spain's Marta Dominguez (foreground) on her way to win the women steeplechase title. Milka Chemos (right, partly hidden) won bronze on the day. PHOTO/Omni Sport
Spain’s Marta Dominguez (foreground) on her way to win the women steeplechase title. Milka Chemos (right, partly hidden) won bronze on the day. PHOTO/Omni Sport

NAIROBI, November 20 – Moscow 2013 world champion, Milcah Chemos, is delighted at the possibility of being elevated in the podium after news broke 2009 women steeplechase winner, Marta Dominguez of Spain, had been stripped of her crown.

Dominguez, 40, was accused of doping in 2013 when abnormalities were found in her blood passport dating back to 2009. But the Spanish athletics federation, of which Dominguez had been a vice-president, cleared her in 2014.

However, that decision has now been reversed on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas). The appeal came from the IAAF, the sport’s governing body, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

“Of course, I’m happy about what has happened but it has taken six years for justice to be served and that is disappointing, it has taken a long time. The joy of victory is celebrating at the stadium and for me, I feel disappointed the more since Berlin was my first time to run for Kenya.

“I don’t know whether there will be another possibility of raising the Kenyan flag but the good thing is I know on the day, I ran my best. At the time, I was not aware I was competing with drug cheats. I was delighted for the medal I got then since I could not believe I had done it,” Chemos, who won bronze at Berlin Olympics stadium, said.

Russia’s Yulia Zaripova, who won silver on the day, is serving a doping ban pending an appeal that will ultimately determine whether her medal performance will be chalked off.

In the event her appeal fails, Chemos could be recognised as a two-time world champion after winning the 2013 edition in Moscow.

“The beauty about athletics now is we have a president who is keen on eliminating cheats from the sport. I’m looking forward to next season and the Olympics. I believe the competition will be sweeter since we will have few cheats if the efforts in place are kept up.

“I don’t understand why an athlete would stand in the podium to accept a medal knowing very well she has injected something. Doping was killing the sport and I’m happy something is being done to change the situation,” the silver medallist from the Daegu 2011 edition of IAAF’s biennial showpiece said.

Having won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she ran despite illness, Chemos was ruled out for this year’s campaign with injury but is stepping efforts to make a comeback next season.

“I’m making progress in my comeback. It has been a tough two seasons from me but now, I have motivation to return to battle for a place in the national team. In our race, the cheats are being cleaned out,” she told.

Dominguez claimed her anomalous readings were caused by a medical condition.

But Cas said that explanation was not “sufficient” to dissuade it from “scientific evidence” of an anti-doping violation presented by IAAF and Wada experts.

Dominguez’s results between 5 August 2009 and 8 July 2013 have been disqualified, which means she loses her Berlin 2009 gold and 2010 European 3,000m steeplechase silver medal.

The athlete who came second to Dominguez in Berlin was Russia’s Zaripova, who is serving a two-and-a-half year ban for doping that is subject to another appeal.

Dominguez retains her 5,000m silver medals from the 2001 and 2003 World Championships.

She was acquitted in 2011 of distributing performance-enhancing drugs after being charged as part of Operation Galgo – an investigation into doping in Spanish athletics.

-Additional material sourced from BBC

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