WADA reduces Russian marathoner’s sanction by seven months after she provides “substantial assistance”

Liliya Shobukhova has had her doping ban reduced, meaning she is now free to compete again.

The IAAF earlier this month confirmed a suspension of three years and two months for the Russian marathoner, following abnormalities detected in her biological passport, and that ban had been set to end on March 23, 2016.

But on Monday the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that Shobukhova’s sanction has been reduced by seven months after the athlete provided “substantial assistance”.

As a result, Shobukhova’s ban ended on Sunday, August 23.

“In light of the substantial assistance that Ms Shobukhova provided in line with the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), WADA has agreed to a seven-month reduction in the athlete’s sanction,” read a WADA statement. “This brings the total length of the athlete’s ineligibility period to two years and seven months, which ended on 23 August 2015.

“Ms Shobukhova approached WADA in May 2014 with a view to providing substantial assistance within the meaning of the Code,” the statement continued. “She accepted from the outset that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation. The information and documentation provided by Ms Shobukhova has been of substantial value in uncovering and investigating anti-doping rule violations committed by other individuals, including athlete support personnel.

“WADA considered the information provided by Ms Shobukhova to be of significant value to clean sport.”

Shobukhova had won the 2010 London Marathon and placed second in the 2011 event, while she also won Chicago Marathon titles in 2009, 2010 and 2011 as the only athlete to secure three consecutive victories. However, she has since been stripped of her titles after the IAAF confirmed that all competitive results recorded by Shobukhova as of October 9, 2009, have been disqualified.

An IAAF statement read in part: “Under both the World Anti-Doping Code and IAAF Rules, athletes are eligible for a reduction in their sanction if they are able to provide information that will assist in discovering or bringing forward an anti-doping rule violation by another person. WADA have granted Ms Shobukhova a reduction of seven months, and her sanction finished on 23 August 2015.

“The assistance that can be provided by athletes and support personnel in uncovering anti-doping rule violations is vital for the IAAF. The IAAF encourages all athletes and other persons who have information that may assist in protecting clean athletes to provide this information to the IAAF or WADA.”

The WADA statement also noted how the Agency has the ability to reinstate reduced periods of ineligibility should individuals not fulfill their obligations under the substantial assistance provisions in the Code.