Suspension Of Thirty-One Turkish Athletes For Doping Could Affect Istanbul 2020

The suspension of 31 Turkish athletes for two years each due to doping violations was announced by the Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) Monday. The bans come five days after the IAAF confirmed that nine Turkish athletes, including two teenagers, received two-year bans for using anabolic steroids.

There are reports that Turkey’s doping problems threaten to affect Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo. A decision on the host city will be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) September 7.

Turkish Olympic Committee President Ugur Erdener, an IOC member, said Monday’s sanctions were “a clear signal” of how seriously it is responding. Erdener released a statement saying, “this work is part of a concerted, and much more aggressive, anti-doping policy in Turkey that has been in place for over six months”.

TAF chairman Mehmet Terzi resigned last week after nine years in office because of the doping cases.

Erdener said, “I look forward to working closely with the new incoming chairman of Turkish athletics who I will expect to aggressively seek out and expel all athletes who cheat using performance-enhancing drugs. Led by the Turkish Government, Turkey has zero-tolerance for doping and it is our intention to have clean, young athletes competing on the international sporting stage in the future”.

Because of the recent revelations in Turkey, FIFA has reassessed more than 600 samples taken there in the past year.

FIFA said it was “concerned by the apparent widespread scope of the sandal” but found no soccer players had tested positive for banned drugs.

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